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Airplays – putting radio dramas centre stage

West Yorkshire Playhouse and BBC Radio Leeds will once again join forces to create Airplays, a brand new project putting radio dramas centre stage. This new collaboration between the Playhouse, BBC Radio Leeds and in association with Leeds College of Music will see four 15 minute radio plays, chosen from an open call out, performed live on stage and broadcast across BBC Radio Leeds this Autumn.

Building on the ambition and success of Nick Ahad’s smash hit Partition in 2017, Airplays will give audiences a unique insight into the creation and recording of radio drama. It will feature dynamic multi-roling actors, live Foley sound-effects and music by a specially curated ensemble from Leeds College of Music.

A call out is now in place for writers based in Yorkshire to submit ideas around the theme of migration to mark the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush in 1948. The successful proposals will be chosen by a panel made up of representatives from West Yorkshire Playhouse, the BBC, Leeds College of Music and members of the Playhouse’s Theatre of Sanctuary programme for refugees and asylum seekers.

The four selected writers will each receive a fee to develop their idea into a short play to be professionally produced by West Yorkshire Playhouse, performed live to an audience at Leeds College of Music and recorded for broadcast across BBC Radio Leeds.

West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director, James Brining, said: “At the heart of the Airplays partnership is a joint commitment to empower people to tell their story regardless of their background or experience. We’re delighted to be working with our neighbours BBC Radio Leeds and Leeds College of Music to discover, develop and present the very best new writing in Yorkshire and we can’t wait for audiences to experience the thrill of watching radio drama performed live on stage.”

Managing Editor of BBC Radio Leeds Sanjiv Buttoo said: “Radio Leeds is committed to building strong and lasting partnerships with local organisations and all our communities. West Yorkshire Playhouse is a key provider of theatre and drama for the county and works closely with a variety of groups. We’re very pleased to be working with them on our Airplays project. We both feel it’s important to find new artistic voices in the media and arts, and we hope this project will unearth the writers of tomorrow who will go on to work for both radio and the stage. I hope it encourages those who feel they have a story in them, and most of us do, to come forward and give it a go!”

The window for submissions is now open for Airplays. All entries to be received by 6pm on Thursday 10 May 2018. Dates for performance and broadcast to follow.

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