Windsor Fringe Festival's Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama writing has attracted 266 scripts this year from 23 countries.

On Wednesday last week the three finalists were announced by Windsor Fringe chairman Karen Darville at a Champagne reception held at Waterstone's book shop in Peascod Street.

The scripts had been evaluated by 40 volunteer readers before being reduced to a shortlist of nine.

Two judges - celebrated script editor Joan Lane and director Andrew C Wadsworth - whittled that number down to the final three.

The three plays are The Ice Queen by Peter Barrett from Essex; One, Two, Three by Adam Colclough from Stockport and An Absence Of by Suzanne Jeans from Stockport.

All three will be performed nightly at the climax of the Fringe Festival on October 3, 4 and 5 at The Old Court, Windsor.

The authors will be present on the last night when the overall winner of the £500 prize will be announced.

The international Windsor Fringe Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing is in its 16th year now and has become a major part of the Windsor fringe.