The 2003 NBF event was launched with open auditions held across England and attended by over 600 actors, a large proportion of whom came from Black and other ethnic communities. All finalists' auditions were recorded and circulated, for casting purposes, among the Radio Drama production teams. Some finalists went on to play parts in Radio Drama's soaps WESTWAY (for World Service Drama which folded in 2005), THE ARCHERS (for Radio 4) and SILVER STREET (for the Asian Network). In 2004, we extended our workshops to Scotland and Wales, and fed the best actors from those sessions - together with outstanding candidates from the previous year's Final heats - into semi-Finals held in Manchester and London. From these twelve finalists were invited to the key London event in early May. Since 2005, the NBF has been run as a collaboration with a network of theatre companies across Britain who helped our search for talent new to radio. Over the years we have been delighted to work with a wide range of theatre groups and companies including Birmingham Repertory Theatre; Dundee Rep; New Vic Stoke; Tamasha; Talawa; Kabosh, Northern Ireland; Graeae Theatre Company; Yellow Earth Theatre; Theatre Royal Stratford East; The Oval House, London; West Yorkshire Playhouse; Nottingham Playhouse; Citizens Theatre, Glasgow; Contact Theatre, Manchester; Lyric Theatre, Belfast; Menagerie Theatre Company, Cambridge; Theatre by the Lake, Keswick; Sherman Theatre, Cardiff.
BBC NBF 2014 will be managed from our Radio Drama Unit in London under the chair of Marion Nancarrow. Our 2014 Semi-Finals have now taken place, where we welcomed guest judge Shaheen Khan, and we look forward to the Finals which will run in Broadcasting House on Monday 17th and Tuesday 18th March 2014 .
We are delighted that in 2014, our partnership with a selection of nine UK-wide theatres will continue. This year's Semi-Finalists came from workshops hosted by:
- Talawa Theatre Company (London, Monday 9th December 2013)
- Birmingham Repertory Theatre (Birmingham, Tuesday 10th December 2013)
- Tamasha Theatre Company (London, Wednesday 8th January 2014)
- Sherman Theatre (Cardiff, Thursday 9th January 2014 )
- Theatre Bristol (Bristol, Thursday 9th January 2014)
- Everyman Theatre (Liverpool, Thursday 9th January 2014)
- Kabosh Theatre Company (Belfast, Friday 10th January 2014)
- Theatre Royal Stratford East (London, Monday 13th January 2014)
- Citizens Theatre (Glasgow, Tuesday 14th January 2014)