The International Contest of Contemporary Drama (ICCD) was set up by BFT to encourage new writing and promote Belarusian cultural identity on an international stage with the participation of artists around Europe. Belarusian playwrights, banned within their own country but recognised for their work outside, have the opportunity to show their works in Belarus. At the same time it includes the work of foreign playwrights in this international cultural context, which Belarus would have its place in for the first time. The ICCD has produced such playwrights as Anna Yablonskaya, Aleksey Shcherbak, and Pavel Pryazhko whose plays have been produced at The Royal Court Theatre and brothers Mikhail and Vyatcheslav Durnenekov who have written for The Royal Shakespeare Company. The contest, one of the top three of its kind in central Europe, has enjoyed success since its conception in 2005, garnering critical acclaim, but was discontinued since 2010 due to a lack of funds. 2014 is the first year this contest has been held in a free country. In previous years it has been held underground in Belarus, in hiding from the authorities.
BFT have now reinstated this contest, improving on previous years by increasing the diversity of participants in order to include Belarusians who remain isolated because of the state policy on internet censorship and media control. This publication is dedicated to promoting the works of the winning playwrights, and is published to coincide with an award ceremony at the Young Vic Theatre in London. The prizes will be awarded by playwright Laura Wade. In 2014 BFT received 523 submissions from 12 participating countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, USA, Germany, UK, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Estonia. The playwrights represent 113 different towns and cities. The winning plays in this collection are in 3 main categories: * Best Full-Length Play * Best Experimental Writing for Theatre/Short Play * Best Adaptation of a Classic Text And a special award, The Tom Stoppard Award for Best Debut, will also be included in this volume. The ICCD, and Belarus Free Theatre: New Plays from Central Europe, reconnects the Belarusian people with their independent artistic voice and their cultural identity within a European context.