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250 logo black 120dpi v1Ronald Duncan Reading Room At Exeter University


BodminMoorPoetryFestival th copyCandy-RonaldDuncanPlaywrightPrizeWinner

Turkish publishers to bring out new limited edition of Duncan's playtext Abelard and Heloise.  

Accompanied Voices Book 

Rural Writing Wild Ways

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helen lu photo


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 Penelope Shuttle 2013

 Rasputin's Mother Poster


Fiona Benson reading poetry at the Ronald Duncan event 2012






News and events relating to Ronald Duncan 



July - August

New - Special Collections Blog

The University of Exeter Special Collections hold archives, rare books and manuscript resources covering all subject areas. Our Special Collections blog will highlight treasures from the collection and keep you up to date on current projects.

Read blog post 'Ronald Duncan's Welcombe'


The Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation is supporting The Plough Arts Centre with the creation of Family Arts Activity Afternoons in the beautiful surroundings of Hartland Abbey and Castle Hill Filleigh.  

For a list of dates for these free events go to -http://www.theploughartscentre.org.uk/event/family-arts-afternoon-hartland-abbey


The Plough International Poetry Competition has re-instated The Ronald Duncan Short Poem Competition.  The Plough Arts Centre in Great Torrington, Devon, UK is hosting both the Ronald Duncan Short Poem and the Open Poetry Competition; the deadline for entries being 31 January 2018.

Find out more about the conditions and how to enter on the The Plough Prize website.  The judge for this year is Michael Symmons Roberts, award winning poet, opera lyricist, and Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.




O-B-A-F-G has been scheduled for broadcast at 3pm on Thursday, 1 September, on Radiophrenia Glasgow

Radiophrenia is a temporary art radio station – a two-week exploration into current trends in sound and transmission arts. Broadcasting live from Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, the station aims to promote radio as an art form, encouraging challenging and radical new approaches to the medium.

Radiophrenia is broadcasting for two weeks from Monday on 87.9FM in Glasgow and online at http://radiophrenia.scot/

Sponsored by the Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation 'Pulling Out' by Lucy Bell will be performed at the London Camden People's Theatre on the 14 - 15 SEPTEMBER 2016. With PULLING OUT, writer Lucy Bell interviewed young men who became dads very young, lost and regained a relationship with their kids.




Transforming Bristol Old Vic’s literary programme.


 The Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation is supporting the literary programme of new writers and plays at Bristol Old Vic with a substantial grant spread over four years, to create a long-term legacy for Britain's oldest continuously working theatre.

The funding will provide a range of opportunities for new writers and poets, including access to mentoring, dramaturgical expertise, performance platforms and seed support for scripts in development. New monthly writing nights and poetry for performance masterclasses will also be launched.

The programme will also support our South West regional playwriting competition, The Open Session, with the work of selected writers also commissioned to produce two studio plays. Each playwright who receives a commission will become the recipient of the Ronald Duncan Prize.

Press Release from the Bristol Old Vic 




 The Ronald Duncan Reading Room 


 The Ronald Duncan Reading Room was opened at Exeter University on 17 August 2016, by Trustees of the Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation.

A celebratory event was held by the University’s Special Collections Department to recognise the support of the Foundation and to thank trustees for their generous donation.The donation to Exeter University will help sustain its South West writing collections and related research with a digitisation project that will secure the accessibility of archival resources - all with the wider general aim to preserve and share Ronald’s legacy.

The support of the Foundation ensures students, academics and the wider local community have the opportunity to learn more about the varied works of Ronald and how his work connects with other local authors and artists. In recognition of this, the University has established an annual lecture associated with Duncan’s interests and a literary prize, awarded to an exemplar student within Art History and Visual Culture.

Press release from Exeter University 

Ronald Duncan reading room


O B A F G - the re-imagining of 1960s audio theatre piece by Ronald Duncan has been selected for Radiophrenia Live-to-Air Performances. http://radiophrenia.scot/live-to-air/

June: The Mounted Police Association have chosen 'The Horse' poem by Ronald Duncan to be displayed on a plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, in the avenue known as 'The Beat' in honour of the Police Horse.  The service is being led by the Chaplain to the Metropolitan Police, and present will be two Police Horses, and two Senior Officers.

May:  The full programme for the fifth Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival is now available and tickets are now on sale.  The programme 27 – 29 May – includes readings and workshops by Pascale Petit, Sarah Howe, John Harvey, Declan Ryan, Zeina Hashem Beck as well as the Acumen poets whose event the RDLF have sponsored.  www.bodminmoorpoetryfestival.co.uk 

February: RD playwriting prize: winning play - "Candy" by Yorkshire writer Robert Pashley. The show will be produced at the Seven Arts Theatre, Leeds, on 16th and 17th June at 7.30. (http://www.sevenleeds.co.uk/event/certainty-of-chance-theatre-candy/)

January: Cornwall based art student Michele Goodchild, produces one off edition of Duncan's 'The Horse' as a specially designed photobook.




December: Turkish publishers to bring out new limited edition of Duncan's playtext Abelard and Heloise.
Kitap Yayınevi

November: Horse poem included on Shires Holt charity website for Remembrance Sunday: the horse


John Greening's book comes out featuring Duncan's work with Britten, amongst other poets who have worked with composers: Accompanied Voices

May: RDLF is proud to sponsor 'Rural Writing: Wild Ways' on Wednesday the 8th of July as part of the Ways With Words - Literary Festival Dartington. Tickets £10 each. Day ticket  £40. For a full festival brochure click HERE. Specific 'Rural Writing: Wild Ways' day listings below.

10am Martin Hughes-Games: Life in the Wild
The BBC Springwatch presenter shares his adventures on location.

11.45am Philip Marsden: The Shape of the Land
This Cornish writer looks at our reactions to place.

1.30pm Charlie Elder: Diversity on our Doorstep
A report on the search for  Britain’s unusual wildlife.

3.15pm Hugh Thomson: Old Ways
A description of a walk across England full of information on history, literary characters and the people the travel writer meets.

5pm Matthew Kelly: Moorscape
An exploration of how Dartmoor is used today.

Feb - March: A RDLF funded poetry competition announces the winners! In 2014 the Poetry Book Society ran a National Student Poetry Competition which the RD Foundation sponsored. The winners are Talin Tahajian (1st prize), Jamie Osborne & James Giddings who will read at the Knox-Shaw Room at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge at 6 pm on 10 March and receive their prizes. Competition judge, Jane Yeh a Next Generation Poet 2014 - will be in attendance to read from her work and present the prizes to the winners.
More about the National Student Poetry Competition. Click on pdf link to read the free e-book anthology of all the winning poems.


Adobe PDF



April - May: Successful run of performances and good reviews of Lucifer Saved - a verse play by Peter Oswald from the Abyss Theatre Company whom the RDLF helped to sponsor for this production. See reviews HERE and HERE and performance details HERE.

March: The RDLF sponsored a story writing competition for the Uganda Schools Learning For Life project. All pupils at the chosen school Coloma Primary in Mbarara who took part, won small prizes, and the school received a prize find to spend on learning aids such as books and writing equipment. View the activity report HERE. View the winning story soon!

January: Torrington-based Wolf and Water company are to produce the story 'Hansel & Gretel' on stage. Rehearsals are now fully underway with two North Devon Many Directions groups, meeting weekly. With the help of RDLF, BBC Performing Arts Fund, the Co-operative Foundation & Esmee Fairbairn they achieved funding targets and the play has been accepted as part of the North Devon Fringe Festival at the Queens Theatre in Barnstaple in June 2014. Details of performances posted nearer the time.



Oct - Nov: Britten100. Ronald Duncan worked with Benjamin Britten on the major opera The Rape of Lucretia amongst other projects, and the two were friends for many years. As part of the centenary celebrations you can catch The Rape of Lucretia performed by The Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra in the UK until December info here... 

Also in Novermber you can catch Britten's last opera Death in Venice performed within the venue for which it was written - Snape Maltings Concert Hall in Aldeburgh info here...

June - Dec: Poetry in Sound (part of Britten's centenary celebrations): British Library exhibition features the composer's manuscripts, including Duncan material.

July: The Ways With Words Literary Festival is back again and we are proud to be sponsoring this popular event. We are especially delighted to support a talk by Paul Kildea, recent author of 'Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century', who is giving a talk about his book on the 11th of July. For more information and booking details click here...

April - Ongoing: RDLF are sponsoring the Thresh and Ply project at the historic Heron Corn Mill in Cumbria. The project aims to draw on a wealth of archive material to create a performance and live art piece to perform at the Mills reopening in Septermber 2013. For more information and details on how to get involved click here... View project summary  HERE. Watch clip of Ghostcog performance HERE.

March: RDLF support the successful launch of Penelope Shuttle's new poem collection 'Unsent', in Cornwall on 16th (see image, left). The Falmouth Poetry Group who hosted the event were also celebrating their 40th year anniversary. Penelope will give further readings at regional venues and events such as the Charles Causeley Festival. Read more about Penelope here...

March: RDLF prizewinning play performances of 'Rasputin's Mother' Ilkley Playhouse, Seven Arts, Chapel, Allerton, Leeds & Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham.

January: RD pic & mention in BBC Music magazine - Britten issue.

New release of Britten & Duncan's co-written opera The Rape of Lucretia recored at Snape Maltings during the 2011 Aldeburgh festival (Kirschlager, Bostridge, Gritton, Purves, Coleman-Wright, Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble, Knussen).

Listen to Track Samples here...
and read the Guardian five star review here...




November: RDLF sponsors prizewinning playwright for the Encore Drama award. Winner: Rasputin's Mother by Michael Davies, an intriguing exploration of the man and the myth.

October: We sponsor Ronald Duncan Reading at Exeter Poetry Festival with poets Fiona Benson and Anthony Wilson, held in Exeter Central Library on Friday the 5 October, 7.30pm. Ronald Duncan Archive at Exeter University (Special Collections) is officially launched at this event. It was a well attended and enjoyable event for all involved.

Aug-Sept: Confirmed funding support for Exeter Poetry Festival 2012 from Arts Council England. The sponsored Ronald Duncan Reading will go ahead. More...

May: RDLF supports annual John Betjeman Poetry competition prize. Young people 10-13 yrs eligible for entry. Deadline July 31, 2012. Click the logo (left) for more details.

April: The Ronald Duncan Annual Playwriting Competition is supported with a grant from the Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation. The winning play will be performed by Encore Theatre later in 2012  Performances will be in three studio theatres for two nights each.

March: The BBC recording of Ronald Duncan's 'Seasons' poems with music by David Cain (Radiophonic Music) is re-issed by Jonny Trunk Records. Buy the reissue-clear vinyl/CD along with more information about the recording plus interview with David Cain (& some sound clips)  HERE

LISTEN TO MP3 (click below)

    November - From Maconie's Freakzone

(Pictured: '60s album cover of 'The Seasons' originally recorded by The Drama Workshop)

February: Duncan Foundation sponsors West Country (Weymouth) segment of national poetry festival 'Winning Words' - for Cultural Olympiad 2012.

January-March: (Pictured left: Ronald Duncan bust/trophy cast by Briony Lawson.)

Encore Drama tours the play 'Jo’s War' by Lucy Bell, winner of the Ronald Duncan Playwriting Prize 2011/12.

A special trophy was presented to playwright Lucy after the January performance in Leeds.  Upstairs @The Carriageworks,  Millennium Square, Leeds LS2 3AD. www.carriageworkstheatre.org.uk




October 13: Lecture, Dr. Alan Munton on Ronald Duncan: Poetry, Plays, Opera and Exploding Pigs: – a life in Devon, taking place at Burton Art Gallery, Bideford, N. Devon, EX39 2QQ. 1 pm.

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October: 6-9: Exeter Poetry Festival, sponsored lecture.

September 3-4: Conference - Literary Britten, Cambridge UK. Paper: "Modernity and Archaism in Ronald Duncan’s libretto for The Rape of Lucretia" by Dr. A. Munton.

September 3: 1968 University alumni encouraged by Duncan to write whilst a student at Exeter. Now David Axtell has written a book 'A Bird for All Seasons' combining poetry with his love for birds. MORE

August: Wordquest's 'Map of Literary Devon' including the local area   where Ronald Duncan wrote in North Devon.      




all content © 2011 Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation | website by Daneswood