UK’s first audio drama development fund for Northern writers opens for applications

Successful applicants will work with panel of UK audio drama experts

The first audio drama development fund for writers based in North England, launched as a joint partnership by entertainment company Free Turn and film and TV agency Screen Yorkshire, is now open for applications. 

The aim of the fund is to help published writers across film, TV, theatre, games, radio, or literature discover the medium of audio drama. Successful applicants will enter a five-month development program titled LOOP, led by a panel of audio drama experts who will support them in creating their own scripted podcasts across varied genres including YA, Horror, Sc-Fi, Thriller, and more. 

“The UK has some of the best writing talent in the world and a great tradition of producing high quality audio,” said Free Turn CEO Jon Hamm. “However, at the moment a lot of writing talent is unaware of the creative potential of sonic dramas and how to craft those ideas for a sonic medium.”

“We have a clear agenda for the initiative, to close this knowledge gap, develop underrepresented voices in the North of England and to support the UK’s potential to continue to lead the world in this new form of entertainment.” 

Entries for the programme will close on 19 May, and at the end of June, ten successful applicants will be announced. The paid part-time programme will help the cohort develop, pitch, and create audio dramas and the panel that will mentor them consists of commissioners, directors, producers, and established audio writers. The full panel will be announced later in May. 

To be eligible for the fund, the writers must be aged 18 or over and either work, live or prove that they are originally from North England. They must also have an idea for an audio drama and have either published work, a writer’s credit, or previous professional experience working with narrative, story development, or scripts. The website does note, however, that it will continue to accept submissions if they don’t meet the requirements but will only be looking for the most “exceptional examples”. 

“It’s incredibly exciting to be able to launch a UK first with a scripted audio fund for the North of England. Our region is jam packed with talent who are eager to explore and experiment, shaping brilliant stories on a multitude of platforms,” said Screen Yorkshire senior talent executive Jo Schofield. “LOOP presents an amazing opportunity to do this, and I’m genuinely so excited to see what ideas take shape”.

Although Free Turn is mostly known for its work across developing film and TV scripts, the company is expanding into the audio drama space with a new documentary podcast series set to release later in 2023. Following the style of US travel and food show Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, the podcast will be hosted by Kirk Flash, creator of British Podcast Award-winning show This is Gay.