- Returning for a second year, the partnership aims to discover and nurture new comedy writing talent from across the UK
- Comedy legend, Dame Julie Walters is the scheme’s Patron and award-winning Comedy writers will be among the scheme’s mentors
- Last call for entries on Friday 12th
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 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.
“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!”, the duo said.
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).
Anil Gupta, Creative Director of Comedy at Sky Studios, 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. For further information on how to submit entries writers can visit: https://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/get-involved/creative-development/sky-comedy-rep.html.
The deadline for submissions is August 12th, 2022.
Notes to Editors
About Sky Studios
Sky Studios is Sky’s original programming arm across Europe.
We develop, produce, commission and fund original drama and scripted comedy for Sky’s 24m customers and beyond. Building on the success of critically-acclaimed Sky Originals including Emmy-winning “Chernobyl”, Bafta-winning “Patrick Melrose” and international hits “Das Boot”, “Riviera” and “Britannia”, Sky Studios is the new creative home of must-see Sky Originals, such as “The Rising”, “Blocco 181” and “Souls”.
We’re an agile Studio, seeking out the best untold stories from new voices while working in creative partnership with today’s best writers, producers and on-screen talent to bring viewers stories they wouldn’t find anywhere else.
With commissioning talent and production capability across the UK, Germany and Italy, we understand local tastes across Europe better than anyone else and have plans to more than double our investment in original content by 2024, fully supported and backed by Comcast NBCUniversal.
We’re also developing a new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, which is expected to lead to the creation of over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in the UK creative sector in the first five years alone.