Comedy legend, Dame Julie Walters will be the scheme’s Patron. Award-winning writers Meera Syal, Simon Blackwell, Danny Brocklehurst and Guz Khan among the scheme’s mentors.
Sky Studios and Birmingham Repertory Theatre today announce the launch of ‘Sky Comedy REP’, a new partnership that aims to discover and develop new regional comedy writing talent from across the UK, particularly from communities that have traditionally been under-represented in the Arts.
The scheme will see nine writers selected to develop a one-act stage play. This year, all the plays will focus around a simple premise: a meeting on a park bench. All nine plays will then be performed at a three-day comedy festival at The REP early next year, featuring up-and-coming actors and emerging directors.
Throughout the six-month programme, writers will be paid for their work and receive one-to-one mentoring from huge names in British Comedy including Meera Syal (Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars), Simon Blackwell (The Thick of It, Veep) Danny Brocklehurst (Brassic, Shameless) and Guz Khan (Man Like Mobeen). The scheme will also include a series of workshops and Masterclasses at The REP featuring insights into all aspects of writing and production.
To be eligible, writers must not have had their writing broadcast on television or performed in any theatre above 200 seats in size.
June 28th 2021.
They are asking people to write a short, one act comic play. This year each play will be based around the simple premise of a meeting or situation that develops around a Park Bench. That’s it. Could be anyone, anywhere, anytime. But it has to be funny.
Submissions will require an outline of the idea and characters as well as 2-3 pages of sample dialogue from the proposed play. All submissions will be read by a representative of the REP or Sky Studios, and after review, they will select nine new writers to take part in the scheme which will commence in September 2021.
The selected writers will then enter an intensive Writer Development Scheme which will develop their initial idea and hone their writing talent. Selected writers will be paid for their participation and entry to the scheme is free.
Each writer will be allocated an experienced mentor who will work with the writers in one to one sessions to develop their ideas.
The new writers will also get the opportunity to participate in masterclasses; workshops and table reads with actors and directors. This development will be based at Birmingham REP, with guidance throughout from both Birmingham REP and the Sky Studios Development team.
Whilst these will be one act plays, they are looking for talent with TV potential as well. Fleabag, Chewing Gum, The League of Gentlemen – all started as live performance. Having your work performed in front of an audience is the best way to answer the ultimate comedy question – is it funny?
Excitingly, the process will culminate in a live staging at the three-day Sky Comedy REP Festival. The festival will consist of a programme of events including three short plays per evening, performed in the 300 seat Studio Theatre at Birmingham REP. A special ‘Repertory Company’ of actors will come together under the direction of emerging directing talent to perform the plays in front of an audience.