Arts Singapore

Gimme Ten! Radio playwriting competition ends on a high note

A prize-giving ceremony was held online this afternoon to announce the top three winners and the Audience Choice Award winner – Sonya Wong (second row from left), Wong Jia Yit, Lee Boon Ooi and Ong Lee Choo Judy(third row). Low Sze Wee, CEO of SCCC (first row from left), Lee Ee Wurn, programmes director of SCCC, Zelda Tatiana Ng, creative director of GroundZ-0 congratulated the winners.

After close to five months, the results of the Gimme Ten! Radio playwriting competition was announced through an online prize-giving ceremony held at 3pm today, which also marks the end of the competition.

The eight scripts that qualified for the finals were turned into radio plays and aired on official radio partner 96.3 HAO FM for two weeks. The radio plays were well-received and attracted close to 700 votes. The radio play with the most number of votes wins the “Audience Choice Award”, with the winner this year being Ong Lee Choo Judy with “Back To 1975”.

The top three winners as selected by the competition’s panel of judges are:
First Prize: Sonya Wong, “Mother’s Panggong Negara”
Second Prize: Wong Jia Yit, “The Sewing Machine”
Third Prize: Lee Boon Hui, “How?”

Additionally, there were three scripts that used dialects and these performed especially well. The first and second prize winners, as well as the Audience Choice Award winner, all incorporated dialect dialogue in their scripts.

The judging panel was touched by the sincerity and authenticity of the top two scripts, and at the same time, intrigued by the creativity of the third. Sonya Wong and Wong Jia Yit displayed proficient writing skills and depth in the creation of their characters, while Lee Boon Ooi set the scene for a riveting story.

Gimme Ten! aims to nurture local playwriting talents as well as promote the use of Chinese language. To encourage more people to try out playwriting, participants were not required to submit a script at the start of the competition. Instead, they were asked to submit a piece of Chinese writing featuring local elements or perspectives. For the preliminary round, the judging panel received 76 entries, from which the best 15 entries were selected. Participants spanned a wide age range, with the youngest at 24 years old and the oldest at 71 years old.

The top 15 participants had the chance to attend three online workshops on the essentials of playwriting and radio play productions in April and May. The free workshops were conducted by award-winning playwright/director Chong Tze Chien, established theatre practitioner Li Xie and lawyer cum playwright Wang Liansheng, after which the participants needed to write a 10- minute radio play using primarily Mandarin (dialects were permitted).

The judging panel shortlisted the best eight scripts to qualify for the finals. The production team turned the scripts into radio plays, hiring professional voice actors to record the radio plays. The radio plays were then aired on 96.3 HAO FM for approximately 2 weeks and listeners could vote for their favourite radio plays.

Gimme Ten! also held an online forum on 4th August. Titled “Hear my drama – the future of radio plays”, a diverse and established practitioners from the media industry were invited to discuss what lies ahead for the Chinese radio play in the media landscape. From the importance of having a good story, to the richness and range of the Chinese language to listeners from different parts of the world, the panel had a lively and robust discussion attracting 1281 unique views during the one-and-half hour forum.

On the first edition of Gimme Ten!, SCCC’s Chief Executive Officer, Low Sze Wee said, “This is the first time SCCC and GroundZ-0 have collaborated to organise a radio playwriting competition with the hope of cultivating more interest in Chinese playwriting. Considering that many people do not have experience in writing long plays, we chose the format of radio plays, and also provided free training workshops. We are delighted by the warm reception, great potential of the participants, as well as the radio listeners who voted for their favourite plays. Radio plays require attentive listening and imagination. Through this innovative competition, we hope that participants had some useful takeaways. We also hope that radio listeners could appreciate the charm and possibilities of our Chinese radio plays which are infused with distinctive local flavours.”

Ground Z-0’s Creative Director Zelda Tatiana Ng shares: “It is a privilege for Ground Z-0 to partner Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre in this inaugural playwriting competition. It is important that we have more stories from Singapore, and that we can express them in our own way. I would like to thank the participants for their generosity, enthusiasm and commitment when they embarked on the Gimme Ten! journey. I look forward to seeing more stories come alive on radio and in the theatre by these talented individuals.”

The final eight radio plays can be found here

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