Hello! I'm Charlotte Riches the Development Producer for BBC Radio Drama North. For the next three months or so I'm going to be writing a blog to coincide with the running of the Alfred Bradley Bursary Award (or ABBA as we like to call it), which
was launched yesterday. I've been planning ABBA for a while now, so it's great to see all the info on the Writersroom website, inviting submissions. It's great as well to have the Writersroom collaborating with us again this year, so thanks to all the team who have been working on it and thanks to the readers who are standing by, ready to receive the hundreds and hundreds of submissions (I hope) which are going to come flooding through their letter box very soon.

For me, what is so brilliant about this award is that it encourages people who have never even thought about writing for radio before to pick up their pen or turn on their computer and have a go. The majority of winners in our past ABBAs, the 2006 winner Mark Shand included, had never written anything before, let alone an afternoon play, so there is definitely something about ABBA which inspires people to dig deep down into their imaginative grey matter and find their radio drama voice. The other great thing about the award is that it continues Alfred Bradley's fantastic legacy by developing Northern voices, which is why the award is only open to people living or who were born in the North.

If you do need a little help finding your voice, then Katherine Beacon, the Project Manager of Writersroom North and I, will be running a series of writing for radio drama masterclasses across the North. We can't teach you how to write, but we can help by giving you some hints and tips about how to improve your writing and also, very importantly, tell you what not to do when writing a radio drama (you wouldn't believe how many people get it badly wrong). Our first workshop is tomorrow at Live Theatre in Newcastle 6pm - 7.30pm. Short notice I know, but if you would like to attend then please email sophia.rashid@bbc.co.uk. Places are limited so you will need to book in. Other masterclasses will take place in Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Kendal and Hull, so watch this space for further details. I'll let you know how the Newcastle masterclass goes in my next instalment.

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  • Comment number 10. Posted by linwrites

    on 25 Dec 2008 13:35

    I had a 5 minute play on at Live Theatre Newcastle on 3 & 4 December. I live near Hull and would really like to come to the masterclass if there is still space.

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  • Comment number 9. Posted by vinay_j11

    on 10 Dec 2008 09:34

    I'm keen to attend the event in Manchester. I've already sent an e-mail to Sophia.

    Thanks for this wonderful opportunity.

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  • Comment number 8. Posted by AspieBoy

    on 5 Dec 2008 09:53

    @Antonia

    I don't think it would do much good in the current economic crisis. Everybody's having to tighten their belts and I guess the arts are a low priority compared to other things.

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  • Comment number 7. Posted by Antonia

    on 4 Dec 2008 19:35

    Maybe a letter to the Arts Council is in order then, Aspie?

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  • Comment number 6. Posted by AspieBoy

    on 4 Dec 2008 11:06

    @Anders-42

    I think they'll be even less midlands opportunities in the future. I think the Arts Council cutting funding to Script, the West Midlands organisation dedicated to encouraging new writing.

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  • Comment number 5. Posted by delilahtyler79

    on 4 Dec 2008 10:55

    I would just like to agree with the comment above - great event at Live, really enlightening, particularly on what the commissioners are (and more importantly, are not!) looking for from Bursary entries. If you're planning to enter, seek out an event near you!

    from Louise :)

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  • Comment number 4. Posted by dancingamck

    on 4 Dec 2008 10:35

    It was a very useful and informative event at Live Theatre in Newcastle last night.

    If you get a chance to attend an event in your area I would definitely go along to it.

    Thanks Charlotte and Katherine.

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  • Comment number 3. Posted by Piers

    on 4 Dec 2008 10:10

    There aren't any Midlands-based schemes open at the moment that I'm aware of, though there were some earlier in the year; whenever I find one it'll go up on the opportunity page.

    In the meantime, you might want to try making contact with your local screen agency. They're closer to the ground than we are, and might hear of schemes that we don't.

    Screen agencies are also able to fund writers directly. You can find a list of all the screen agencies, and links to all their websites, on our links pages.

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  • Comment number 2. Posted by Anders-42

    on 3 Dec 2008 21:31

    I am very much a 'northern lass', but live in Chesterfield and although we have a Sheffield postcode we don't count as Yorkshire and Humber :( Don't they do anything similar in the 'midlands'?

    Anders

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  • Comment number 1. Posted by Antonia

    on 2 Dec 2008 13:40

    Great news! I'd like to attend the Manchester workshop, so is it still okay to email about my interest?

    Antonia

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