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National Theatre Wales

Press Release




BBC Cymru Wales, National Theatre Wales and the BBC Writersroom today announce the four finalists of the 2016 Wales Drama Award. The four finalists are Hardey Speight, William Smith, Jon Jones and Bethan Marlow. They have all be invited to meet the judges and discuss their ideas before the winner is selected.


The finalists have been selected from over 250 other Wales-based drama writers by a panel of judges, including Julie Gardner MBE, producer and co-founder of Bad Wolf, Kully Thiarai, Artistic Director of National Theatre Wales, Anne Edyvean, Head of BBC Writersoom and Bethan Jones, Executive Producer with the BBC.


The winner will receive £10,000 and the opportunity to develop their work with BBC Cymru Wales and National Theatre Wales. The selected writer will be announced at a special ceremony at Yr Hen Lyfrgell in Cardiff on the evening of Tuesday 22nd November.


The Wales Drama Award is a collaboration between two creative leaders in drama – BBC Cymru Wales and National Theatre Wales – in close partnership with BBC Writersroom. This is the third time this prestigious award for writers based in Wales has been presented.


Speaking on behalf of the judges, Anne Edyvean from BBC Writersroom, said: “Our aim is to find bold, original writers based in Wales. This year we’re really excited by the four finalists who all bring fresh perspectives to their unique stories and contribute something new to the creative landscape in Wales.”


Bethan Jones, Executive Producer with the BBC and member of the judging panel said: “Finding the time to write and the support to develop can be really difficult at the beginning of a writer's career. This competition is all about rewarding and supporting scriptwriting potential. No one should underestimate how brave writers have to be when they first share their work and were really grateful to everyone who entered their script. It's been a difficult decision but we're delighted to have four strong finalists."


Kully Thiarai, Artistic Director of National Theatre Wales and judges’ panel member said: "Validation and support are so critical in any artist’s creative development, and the Wales Drama Award plays an important role in discovering, nurturing, showcasing and giving visibility to writers in Wales. The four shortlisted writers prove that there's a real diversity of talent and ideas here, and they will, no doubt, all create great work in the years ahead.”


Issued by BBC Cymru Wales Communications and National Theatre Wales


For more information, contact Non Tudur Williams at BBC Cymru Wales: or 07920 451827


Catrin Rogers at National Theatre Wales: or 029 2035 3077 / 07540 686 725


Notes to editors:

·       This year’s Wales Drama Award was launched in May 2016, at a live-streamed event in BBC Cymru Wales Broadcasting House. The panel discussion and Q&A were available on the BBC Writersroom website and YouTube channel.

The Award was open to any writer residing or born in Wales, and aimed to encourage writers who feel passionately about the stories they want to tell, and who have something to offer audiences across the length and breadth of Wales and the wider UK.
Applicants were asked to submit a full-length script in any medium (min. length 30 minutes), unperformed and unproduced, and in the English language, to BBC Writersroom.
The Award Ceremony will be held at Yr Hen Lyfrgell, Cardiff at 5.30pm on Tuesday 22nd November.




Hardey Speight

Named after Sir Thomas Hardy, Hardey graduated from the University of The Arts LCC and jumped straight into TV and Film as an Assistant Director working on programmes like Sherlock. After relocating to Cardiff he’s progressed into directing and writing creative content for the advertising world. His work is predominantly centred on telling beautiful stories about the human condition, about real characters, in a moment of crisis, but always with a sense of humour and pathos at heart. A huge influence on his style is the work of Mike Leigh, and more recently Jill Soloway, whose portraits of intricate, complex human relationships are original and compelling.

William Smith


Born in Swansea and currently living in Cardiff, William graduated from the University of Wales, Newport with a degree in Film Studies in 2010. Since graduating he wrote the short film "King of The Castle", which was made as part of the "It's My Shout" scheme and broadcast on BBC2 Wales in 2011, and "Lift Jockeys", a short film produced in 2014. In addition to writing in his spare time, he’s previously worked as a producer and presenter for Radio Cardiff, as well as an office administrator.

Jon Jones


Jon graduated from Manchester University with a degree in English Literature. His first job in the Film and Television industry was as a carpenter, from there working up the Art Department in a variety of roles, finishing up as an Art Director working on a number of BBC dramas and the feature film ‘Young Americans’, before returning to study Direction at the National Film and Television School. His first directing job was on the ITV Series, Cold Feet. Jon is married with three growing boys and tries to write when there’s a bit of quiet in the house.


Bethan Marlow


Bethan is a writer that likes to collaborate, test boundaries and telling stories on multiple platforms. She’s particularly passionate about voices within communities that aren’t being heard. She’s driven to write by people’s stories- their journeys, their experiences and their way of surviving in the world. Bethan has created work with communities in Ghana, Colombia and Malawi, as well as working Paines Plough, Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre Wales. She was one of the Traverse 50 writers.


BBC Cymru Wales is a drama centre of excellence for drama.  Home to a range of celebrated productions made both in-house and by the independent sector including Doctor Who, Casualty and Pobol Y Cwm. BBC Cymru Wales drama is a major producer of drama for BBC network across television and radio as well as for BBC Wales and S4C.


National Theatre Wales has been making English-language productions in locations all over Wales, the UK, internationally and online since March 2010. It operates from a small base in Cardiff’s city centre, but works all over the country and beyond, using Wales’ rich and diverse landscape, its towns, cities and villages, its incredible stories and rich talent as its inspiration. The Welsh Government and the Arts Council of Wales are supporting National Theatre Wales.


BBC Writersroom champions new writing talent across the BBC. Recent successes include The Break for BBC Three, Elliott Kerrigan's Boy Meets Girl, which came from a targeted Trans Comedy talent search; Dominic Mitchell’s In The Flesh, which came from a Writersroom Northern Voices Scheme; and Debbie Moon’s Wolfblood, one of the winners of an open CBBC competition for original new drama. BBC Writersroom runs schemes targeting talent from a range of sources and works in partnerships with theatres, writers' organisations, screen agencies, and the wider cultural industries. It helps new writers develop their craft through professional training, the website and in open sessions around the country with the UK's best writing talent.


National Theatre Wales presents:

Wales Drama Award 2016

BBC Wales and National Theatre Wales, in partnership with BBC Writersroom, are inviting submissions for the third prestigious £10,000 Wales Drama Award.

The biennial award is both a celebration of writers in Wales and an open call to Welsh talent, whether emerging or established. It’s a collaboration between two creative leaders in drama – BBC Wales and National Theatre Wales – and was first launched in 2012.

The winner of this year’s Wales Drama Award will receive £10,000, and an opportunity to develop their script and work closely with both BBC Wales and National Theatre Wales.

The Wales Drama Award is run in partnership with BBC Writersroom.

Follow Wales Drama Award 2016 on Twitter:


Box Office:

Media Officer

Catrin Rogers

+ 44(0)29 2035 3070

National Theatre Wales
30 Castle Arcade,
Cardiff/CF10 1BW