An audio drama written and produced by two sixth form students at Darrick Wood School in Orpington has been selected for inclusion at this year’s UK International Audio Drama Festival. 

The annual festival, now in its tenth year, is held in Canterbury and will showcase a wealth of audio dramas from over twenty different countries. Radio and audio producers from all over the world are invited to submit up to three of their best plays for the festival, from which a shortlist is drawn up. Darrick Wood’s George Norris and James Monaghan submitted their play ‘The Perfect Christmas Present’ in the short-form category and were delighted to learn that it had been selected. 

James Monaghan, who starred in and edited the play said, “Having poured my heart and soul into my first audio drama as the editor and as a character, I was astonished and elated to learn that it had been selected for a prestigious festival. The news came as a delightful shock and validating the countless hours of hard work and creativity invested in the project.”

During the week-long festival seventy different audio dramas – recorded in multiple languages and translated for the audience - will feature in a series of listening sessions. At the end of the week a jury will award prizes to the best play in three categories (best long form drama, best short form drama and a best young producer). George and James’s play originally featured on Darrick Wood School’s own digital platform, DWS Audio, back in December as a festive offering for students to enjoy.

The play is about an everyday office worker terrified about getting the wrong Christmas present for his fiancé. To that end, he asks advice from a vast array of friends. Writer and director George Norris explains that the play came about after “remembering the past experiences of trying to get the right Christmas present for someone and the adventurous route it takes you down, especially at the last minute!” Both George and James concede that the production was fraught with problems, largely due to cast availability and time constraints but, says George, “the end result is amazing.”

Students at Darrick Wood School have twice won awards at the festival and the school is once again delighted to have the work of its students featuring again. The listening sessions are free to attend – in person and online - and open to anyone with an interest in audio drama. The festival runs from March 25th until the 29th and will be held at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge Studio in the cathedral grounds. You can request tickets for the festival via the organiser’s website: Radio Drama Festival