Free Turn Entertainment and Screen Yorkshire’s pioneering audio drama fund, LOOP, has announced its cohort of six writers for the 2023 programme.
The fund, the first of its kind in the UK, will provide the writers with a best-in-class programme of paid development and mentoring to develop, create and pitch compelling immersive audio dramas for global audiences.
All originating from the North of England, the writers were selected for their creativity, pushing the limits of the audio-first experience while fearlessly capturing the essence of contemporary culture and society.
The concepts showcase a wide range of compelling themes, from the growing link between extreme prosperity and health to a gripping and funny portrayal of a post-apocalyptic UK with a touch of cannibalism, via an exploration of British teenage life amidst the bizarre backdrop of a funeral home and gangsters.
The six writers selected are Benjamin Bee from Newcastle, recently selected for the BBC Comedy Collective and as Screen International Star of Tomorrow; Natalie Beech, screenwriter and playwright from Manchester and winner of the 2022 Channel 4 Writing for Television Award; Steven Bell from Featherstone, near Wakefield, author of three published books on sporting heroes; Matthew Greenhough from Sheffield, creative director of Wound Up Theatre and BBC Drama Room participant, now with several TV projects in development; Matilda Reith from Sheffield, NFTS-alumni, writer’s assistant to Rachel Turner and creative associate at Punchdrunk International, and Eleanor Taylor from York, playwright, BAFTA Rocliffe Award winner and shortlisted for the BBC Writers Room.
The development fund will help the writers define, develop and refine their scripted audio ideas into creatively and commercially exciting projects that dare to challenge the audio format and ultimately grab the attention of listeners, across a variety of genres.
Jon Hamm, CEO of Free Turn said: “The volume of applications we received reflects the enormous seam of talent in the North that feels disconnected from the opportunities that audio drama can bring. The six projects we have chosen all stand out, they have something provocative to say, they challenge the audio format, and they have captivating characters at the core of each creation.”
The programme has already kicked off with an initial get together for the whole team in Sheffield, and Hamm added: “Spending time with everyone confirmed we are embarking on a transformative journey with these outstanding projects, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring their voices to the forefront of the audio drama world.”
The LOOP participants will benefit from the wisdom of industry leaders during the programme including Steve Carsey, MD of the Audio Alliance at Bertlesmann and former director of originals at Audible; Rhianna Adams-Christie, assistant commissioner of BBC Comedy and Drama; Boz Temple-Morris, award-winning audio director and producer; and Kirk Flash, writer, podcast host and winner of BBC Sounds’ Rising Star of the Year award.
Jo Schofield, senior talent executive at Screen Yorkshire said: “We have long championed the quality of writers in the North of England and it’s been an unenviable task to select the final winners with so many fantastic ideas submitted. This region is a hotbed for creativity and I can’t wait to see how the LOOP 2023 ideas come to life.”