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Professional Development – The Brilliant New Era of Podcast Drama

13 September @ 10:00 - 11:30 BST

Virtual Event Virtual Event

This session will look at the exciting and hugely popular area of podcast drama and explore what it requires of, and offers for, writers and audio makers. In this in-conversation event, writer Helen Cross and award-winning BBC producer and director Mary Ward-Lowery will discuss their new podcast drama series for BBC Sounds, English Rose, and share the process of taking it from first idea through commission to production.  English Rose is currently Number 1 in the UK podcast drama charts.

This #SoAatHome event is in conjunction with our Scriptwriters Group.



  • Welcome, introductions and housekeeping from Lilly Brend-Fish, Events & Outreach Assistant, SoA (2 mins)
  • Presentation by Helen Cross and Mary Ward-Lowery (60 mins)
  • Comfort Break (5 mins)
  • Q&A with audience (20 mins)
  • Summary and closing comments (3 mins)


Who is this workshop for?

The session will be of interest to  scriptwriters, writers interested in developing ideas for podcast drama, or lovers of the genre who are interested in learning more about the craft.

What will this workshop cover?

  • How podcast drama series differ from traditional audio dramas
  • The BBC commissioning process for podcast drama
  • Other commissioners of, and markets for, podcast drama
  • Tips for pitching your idea to producers and commissioners
  • Using music and sound design in podcast drama
  • Developing a storyline across multiple episodes
  • Creating an audio identity for your podcast drama
  • Developing ideas for podcast dramas


Send us your questions in advance

If you would like to send questions in advance, email lbrendfish@societyofauthors.org with ‘Podcast Drama’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many as we can from the audience on the day.

SoA @ Home Fundraising Bookshop

Browse our virtual Bookshop.org store featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate links, a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.


The line -up


Helen Cross

Helen Cross is the author of four novels including My Summer of Love, which became a BAFTA- award-winning movie starring Emily Blunt. Two of her screenplays are currently in development and her audio dramas are regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Her most recent work is the podcast drama series, English Rose, currently available on BBC Sounds.

Website: www.helencross.net | Twitter: @helenxwriter | Instagram @helenxwriter


Mary Ward-Lowery

Mary Ward-Lowery is an audio director and producer who has won many awards for her work with the BBC, including Best Director in the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2020 for Talk to Me: HP Lovecraft. Mary also won Best Serial in 2016 for D for Dexter by Amanda Whittington. Her recent work includes The Shell Seven by Margaret Heffernan and English Rose by Helen Cross, a story of vampires and feminist revenge which topped the Apple podcast charts for audio drama. She also produces Natalie Haynes Stands up for the Classics.

Twitter: @MaryWL1

About the Scriptwriters Group

The Scriptwriters Group (SWG) is a community of scriptwriters and broadcasters. It represents writers and makers across digital, broadcast, AV and theatre. We support members and associates by providing professional, individual advice, negotiating collective minimum terms agreements with organisations such the BBC, and lobby on policy and legislation to promote the interests and protect the rights of scriptwriters. Find Out More.

Need to know

Before the event
  • Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with the Zoom link
  • If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive in your inbox, please check your junk/spam email folder
  • Please add events@societyofauthors.org to your Safe Senders list so you receive our confirmation, and reminder emails
During the event
  • This online event will take place on Zoom Webinar; you will not be visible on screen but will be able ask questions via the Q&A function or interact via the chat box
  • This event will be recorded but you won’t be on screen
  • Attendees have the option to turn on the live transcript option
  • This event is 90 minutes
After the event
  • Hashtag for this event: #SoAatHome
  • You’ll be able to catch the recording on our Vimeo channel



Book your place by using the registration below.

All SoA @ Home Festival Professional Development sessions are free to SoA Members but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. DONATE HERE

If you are unable to book using the registration box below, please email events@societyofauthors.org with the name and date of the event you’d like to register for and we’ll confirm your place.

Accordion Content

Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.


Accordion Content

20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.



13 September
10:00 - 11:30 BST
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Sophia A Jackson