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The Kenneth Branagh Award – info.


The Windsor Fringe was started in 1969 and has always been a totally voluntary committee PASSIONATE ABOUT encouraging new talent and presents annually an eclectic festival of the Arts. This is the 13th year of our Award for New Drama Writing, generously sponsored by Kenneth Branagh and we are proud to be:

The Windsor Fringe Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing.  

Our Award annually attracts hundreds of scripts for 30 minute one-act plays and over 12 years we’ve received nearly 3000 scripts from :

New Mexico, France, Nigeria, Belarus, Japan, England, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Scotland, Belgium, New     Zealand, Cyprus, Canada, Eire, USA, Finland, Germany, Wales, Albania, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, the Ukraine, South Africa, Portugal, N. Ireland , Israel, India, Australia, The Caribbean, , Mexico, Korea, the Nederlands, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Greece and the islands of Jersey, Lewis, Man and Arran .

Many of our winners have gone on to further success in the Theatre, Films and TV 

Our prestigious judges have been:Dame Hilary Mantel, Rosemary Squire OBE, Fay Weldon CBE, Nell Dunn , Nina Bawden CBE, Nell Leyshon, Iqbal Khan, Kenneth Branagh, Joanne Harris MBE, Jenny Seagrove, John Adams, Andrew. C.Wadsworth, Pete Gallagher, Alan Brodie and Sara Wolf.

Our festival is held at the end of September/ early October.

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The drama award at The Windsor Fringe showed to what degree live theatre is appreciated over the yawning boredom of the box. The audience was enthusiastic, the hall crowded, tension mounted as the winner was announced. Accomplished writing-lively performances, new writing on its way to the professional top thanks to the Fringe who give their time, enthusiasm and experience to make sure it gets there. The standard of writing goes up and up and it’s great to see. Fay Weldon CBE. 

More than ever, in a world that seems increasingly to under-value the creative industries, we must endeavour to find new ways of supporting new generations of writers, directors and performers. Because of this and the chance it offers, I’m proud to be associated with the Windsor Fringe Kenneth Branagh Awards and encourage all aspiring writers and directors to love this competition as much as I do and always support the fringe to promote the new talent that richly deserves this wonderful platform. Pete Gallagher.  

Over 13 years, we’ve received over 3000 scripts from 32 countries: Canada, France, Slovakia, Korea, USA, Mexico, Sweden, UK, Israel, Switzerland, Italy, Eire, Australia, Germany, Austria, Holland,Spain, Denmark, Albania, Hungary, Russia, N. Zealand, S. Africa, The Ukraine, Portugal, India, Nigeria, Finland Japan, Greece, Norway and The Caribbean.

We are grateful to our judges who have given their time generously in support of new Drama Writing:

Dame Hilary Mantel, Rosemary Squire OBE, Fay Weldon MBE, Nell Dunn, Nina Bawden MBE, Kenneth Branagh, Iqbal Khan, Nell Leyshon,Jenny Seagrove, John Adams, Joanne Harris CBE,Pete Gallagher Alan Brodie and Sarah Wolfe. 

The key aspect of our award, which makes it unique, is that we stage full performances, rather than rehearsed readings. Our writers feel they learn a huge amount by working with directors & seeing their plays staged, as you see below :-

I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for being one of the three winners in the Windsor Fringe Drama Writing Award . After the encouragement from my talented director , I went on to do a creative writing/ Plays & screenplay course at the City Uni. In London and wrote short pieces which were performed in London Theatres. My next short play Front was part of RADX festival and then performed at the John Gielgud Theatre and my debut full length play Mudlarks was performed at the Hightide festival. In 2013, I was long-listed in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in the category “ Most Promosing Playwright”. I would like to thank the Windsor Fringe for their encouragement for new drama writing.Vickie Donoghue. Runner-up 2005 

It was only when I met my talented director, Pete Gallagher, that it sank in what an achievement being selected as one of the three winners in the Drama Award was. Seeing it brought to life was both thrilling and petrifying and then being judged the winner has given me the confidence to write more. Simon Lynn. Winner 2007 

Windsor Fringe have a lot to pat themselves on the back for. There are few places where new writers can get their plays performed and you can’t progress until you see your work properly produced on stage. That’s why Windsor Fringe is priceless! I was extremely lucky to have the instinctive and talented director Pete Gallagher and will always be grateful to the Windsor Fringe and the judges Iqbal Khan and Kenneth Branagh for giving me the confidence to keep at it. Suzy Clements winner 2008 

Winning this award had made an enormous difference. Assessing my own writing is impossible. The Windsor Fringe Award is a true blessing. How often does a completely untried writer have the opportunity to receive objective criticism from such distinguished judges? Or to have their plays actually performed? I came away from the expereince humbled, encouraged and excited to get to work on something new. As for the wonderful people involved with the Fringe festival- I will happily go back to England to raise a pint with all of them. The unsung (and unremunerated) champions of the arts ! Kathleen Kiley Winner 2009 USA

Seeing Walking brought to life was a fantastic experience and I was thrilled to be announced the winner. This is a great event brought about by the dedication and enthusiasm of a strong team of people and giving the audience the opportunity to enjoy a diverse range of plays. I had a brilliant director and cast, who had a strong belief in my play and the judges gave me positive and encouraging comments. Since then another of my plays was recently short-listed for the E 15 Play-Script competition. My play Dog City, was performed in London and my play Blue selected for “The Little Pieces of Gold New Writing Showcase” and performed in London 2013. ”I’ve extended my play Walking, which is currently being read by a number of theatres. Also my newest play Against the Law has just been performed at The Barons Court Theatre as part of the Love, Hate and Human Rights Festival. Thankyou again Windsor Fringe for giving me such a great start. Tina Jay. Winner 2011 

Winning the Kenneth Branagh Award has been the pinnacle of an amazing experience. The award is unique in that anyone, regardless of their background, can enter and be in with the chance of seeing their work performed. Seeing my play on stage was incredibly exciting and the whole process has given me a huge boost of confidence. However none of this would be possible without the many volunteers behind the Fringe, who work so hard in nurturing and supporting new writing. I’m thrilled to be part of the award-long may it continue its great work. Monica Spill. Winner 2013 

It was a privilege to be part of the Windsor Fringe again. The judges,Fay Weldon and Pete Gallagher gave me lots of good advice and were very encouraging.. Plus the audience were very involved and gave me some fantastic response and feedback .So onwards and Upwards. Thank you again Windsor Fringe for organising such an excellent event. I’m proud to be part of it again. Jackie Carreira. Runner-up 2012 and 2013.

Writing is a lonely and often thankless pursuit. It takes over one’s life.It’s just lovely when your work is recognised, particularly from such a prestigeous writing award as the Windsor Fringe Kenneth Branagh Award, I’m very happy to have been one of the three lucky finalists and have learnt much from seeing my play produced .Vivienne Allen. Runner-up 2013