Sky Studios and Birmingham Rep have announced the return of ‘Sky Comedy Rep,’ a joint partnership that aims to discover and nurture emerging comedy writing talent from across the UK, particularly from communities that have traditionally been under-represented in the Arts.
Now in its second year, the scheme, which is open for entries now until Friday 12th August, will see eight writers selected to develop a one-act stage play. This year, all plays will focus on a simple premise: a proposal in the park. Each of the eight plays will feature up and coming acting and directing talent, performed as part of a three-day festival at The Rep in early 2023.
Last year, twins and writing duo Mari and Lowri Izzard were selected to take part and following the performance of their play Spoffin, the pair have been commissioned by Sky Studios to write further scripts which are in active development.
The duo said: “Sky Comedy Rep gave us the opportunity to be in a room we never would have had access to before. We learnt so much and had a really great time working with the teams from The Birmingham Rep and Sky Studios. Thanks to the scheme, we’re currently developing Spoffin for screen. We owe a lot to Sky Comedy Rep and encourage everyone and anyone to apply. Go on; give it a go!”
Throughout the six-month programme, writers will be paid for their work and receive one-to-one mentoring from some of the Greats from British Comedy. Last year, mentors included: Meera Syal (Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars), Simon Blackwell (The Thick of It, Veep) Danny Brocklehurst (award-winning series Brassic, Shameless) and Guz Khan (Man Like Mobeen), with this year’s mentors set to be announced in autumn. There will also be a series of workshops and masterclasses at The Rep, to provide insights into all aspects of writing and production.
The initiative will be overseen by The Rep’s Artistic Director, Olivier Award-winning Sean Foley (The Play What I Wrote) and Sky Studios Creative Director of Comedy, BAFTA Award-winning Anil Gupta (Goodness Gracious Me, The Office).
Creative Director of Comedy at Sky Studios, Anil Gupta, said: “We were thrilled with the first edition of Sky Comedy Rep; nurturing, mentoring, and backing the next generation of Comedy talent aligns perfectly with our ambition to become the home of British TV comedy.
“Working with the writers was a joy and the plays were a triumph. This year is going to be even bigger and better. Like all sequels.”
Sean Foley, Birmingham Rep Artistic Director said: “The first year of Sky Comedy Rep was such a thrilling and hilarious success that we decided to do it again. The Rep is excited to partner with our friends at Sky Studios for the return of our unique and ambitious talent development programme for Comedy Writing in the UK.
“Developing new talent is deep in The Rep’s pioneering DNA, and last year’s writers and performances were a testament to how raw talent can blossom when nurtured and given space to grow. I can’t wait to do it all over again”
The initiative fuels Sky Studios’ ambition to be at the forefront of UK Comedy and The Rep as the unofficial ‘National Theatre of Comedy’. Working together, the scheme will serve as a training ground for a new generation of narrative comedy writers, directors, and actors.
Entries are open now. To be eligible, writers must not have had their writing broadcast on television or performed in any theatre above 200 seats in size.
The deadline for submissions is August 12th, 2022.