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Get Writing with BBC ONE's The Canterbury Tales
Mon 18 Aug 2003
BBC Learning is joining forces with BBC ONE's The Canterbury Tales and BBC Radio 4 to offer five viewers the opportunity to have their stories read on radio by members of the series' cast. This exceptional opportunity launches BBC Learning's Get Writing initiative - and anyone can take part.
Retelling Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales for a modern audience are four of Britain's best known contemporary writers - Tony Marchant, Peter Bowker, Sally Wainwright and Tony Grounds - and two writers new to television drama, Olivia Hetreed and Avie Luthra. The Canterbury Tales may be 600 years old but their preoccupation with sex, money, love, religion and race resonates with issues in 21st century Britain and the Get Writing team will be travelling the country looking for short stories, inspired by the Tales, reflecting life in the UK.

To help aspiring authors along, the BBCi online site www.bbc.co.uk/getwriting will offer ideas, motivation and advice on how to get started in short story writing and an opportunity to meet fellow writers online.

In addition 12 creative writing events will be held across the country during September and October, offering the chance to meet writers from The Canterbury Tales, members of the BBC production team and successful local writers to get hints, tips and inspiration.

A large selection of submitted stories will be published on the BBCi site and five will then be chosen to be developed and produced for Radio 4's Afternoon Readings slot to be read by members of the cast. Some stories will also be featured on BBC local radio stations.

Dorothy Stiven, BBC Learning Executive in Drama and Entertainment said 'Chaucer's classic tales mirror the issues and ideas of present day society. We want people to be inspired by these films and encouraged to develop their creative writing skills by having a go at writing their own stories about life in contemporary Britain.'

The competition is open to all writing beginners over 16 who have never been published or had work broadcast on the BBC.

Get Writing with The Canterbury Tales is the first phase of a three year project to inspire people, through BBC drama and entertainment programmes, to discover and develop their creative talents. Further initiatives from the BBC Learning in Drama and Entertainment team will be launched throughout the year.

BBC ONE's The Canterbury Tales will be broadcast in September. Julie Walters heads an outstanding cast which also includes James Nesbitt, Om Puri, Paul Nicholls, Dennis Waterman, Billie Piper, Andrew Lincoln, Keeley Hawes, John Simm, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jonny Lee Miller. The Tales are: The Knight's Tale, The Miller's Tale, The Sea Captain's Tale, The Wife of Bath, The Man of Law's Tale and The Pardoner's Tale.

Rules for entry include:

the author must be:
* over 16 years of age
* a UK resident
* an unpublished writer
* someone who has never had their work transmitted by the BBC

Short Story Writing sessions venues, dates and times:

London, Cinema 1, NFT, South Bank, 27th Sept, 2pm 020 7928 3232

Edinburgh, Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 30th Sept, 7.30pm 0131 228 1404

Newcastle, Newcastle Playhouse, Barras Bridge, 1st Oct, 7.30pm 0191 230 5151

Birmingham, Birmingham Rep, Broad Street, 4th Oct, 11am 0121 236 4455

Nottingham, Royal Centre, Theatre Square, 6th Oct, 7.30pm 0115 989 5555

Canterbury, Gulbenkian Theatre, University of Kent, 7th Oct, 7.30pm 01227 769075

Manchester, Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann's Sq, 11th Oct, 11am 0161 833 9833

Devon, Dartington Hall, Totnes, 13th Oct, 7.30pm 01803 847070

York, City Screen, Coney Street, 14th Oct, 7.30pm 01904 541144

Belfast, NTL Studio, Waterfront Hall, Lanyon Place, 15th Oct, 7.30pm 02890 334455

Cambridge, Arts Theatre, St Edward's Passage, 18th Oct, 11am 01223 503333

Cardiff, Chapter Arts Centre, Market Road, 18th Oct, 11.30am 02920 304400

Tickets to the events are free but limited, so early booking is advisable. Tickets will be available from 1st August from the venues directly.
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