Outlined below are the schemes and initiatives that we have in place working to improve diversity & inclusion across commissioning.
MAMA Youth Programme is a Sky supported charity that recruits, trains, and nurtures young people between 18-25 years of age from under-represented groups or with limited educational or employment opportunities. The programme runs twice a year for 14 weeks, and each cohort takes on 28 students. The BBC supports one programme per year, and Sky funds the other. Four to six week paid placements are then found in the industry for each young person with Sky or Endemol Shine (for the Sky funded programme) and the BBC or Procam (for the BBC funded programme). Sky houses Mama Youth at their Osterley Campus. Sky supports Mama Youth’s ambition to become a sustainable business and has funded development with Licklemore, Mama Youth Project’s founder, Bob Clarke’s independent production company. Licklemore has partnered with CPL productions to work on Sky developments with a budget of £80,000 per year.
Sky Breakthrough supports four disabled candidates to work for fourteen weeks in paid placements across Sky’s original drama commissions in off-screen roles. The initiative started in 2018 and develops talent, addresses the lack of disabled representation in the industry and supports both candidates and production teams in working together. The scheme intends to launch the careers for each candidate in their chosen department.
Sky Table Reads is a monthly event launched, led by Sky Drama, which spotlights writers from BAME backgrounds and provides an opportunity for casting directors to introduce diverse acting talent to producers and executives. Sky designed the programme to give emerging BAME writers exposure and the chance to hear their script in front of a live audience. Sky’s ambition is that scripts will be picked up and taken into development, and writers and actors will be offered work in the industry following the exposure.
Sky Studios & Young Vic Theatre have partnered to commission three writers to write a for stage and screen: a draft pilot for a television series and a draft full-length stage play. The scheme supports writers in developing imaginative and powerful story ideas that are rich enough to inspire two different tellings and actively encourages writers to think through how the narrative potential of one medium might tap into story possibilities for the other.
Sky Writes created by Sky in partnership with New Writing North, a new talent initiative designed to identify and nurture television writers from under-represented groups and under-served geographical areas in the North of England. The project links grassroots developmental opportunities with a structured professional development programme for writers identified as having potential. The project will focus on drama and comedy writing.
Box Of Tricks and Sky Studios' Innovation Hub based in Manchester and Leeds, respectively, teamed up to launch a Screen/Play Award, a ground-breaking initiative to unearth exceptional writers from the North of England. The Screen/Play Award will offer two writers, with no TV writing experience, a bursary to write a new play for Box of Tricks and open doors to the world of screenwriting by forging a development partnership with Sky Studios throughout 2021. Intending to increase representation and opportunity, both now and in the future, the Screen/Play Award is open to Northern writers, aged over 18, with no professional TV experience from the following communities: D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent writers, LGBTQ+ writers, writers of colour, firstgeneration migrant writers and writers from a low socio-economic background.
New Writing Partnership, Sky, National Theatre of Wales and Bad Wolf supports writers to develop imaginative and powerful story ideas that are fresh, distinctive, and rich enough to inspire two different incarnations: one for theatre and one for a television audience. The partnership will commission six scripts, three of which will be screenplays, and three will be theatre plays, depending on the writer’s area of expertise. The six writers will be supported through the development process by either the creative team at Bad Wolf or the National Theatre of Wales. The partners will select three of those six scripts as most suitable for adaptation for the other medium, and the relevant creative team will support those three writers. The National Theatre of Wales will seek to produce the stage plays in future seasons, and Sky Studios and Bad Wolf will decide whether to develop the commissioned scripts further (or indeed whether to commission other work from the writers). If this doesn’t happen, the writers will own their scripts and be free to take them elsewhere.
Sky & Kiln Theatre Collaboration between Sky and the Kiln Theatre, London, identifies fresh, diverse theatre writers and supports them in developing their skills to cross between writing for the theatre and television. The Kiln will identify writers they are interested in writing with and select ten scripts from these writers that best exemplify the writers’ tone, style and sensibility. They will then be shared with Sky and whittled down to six. These six writers will then present a one-pager for an original idea which could be developed firstly as a theatre piece with the potential to be transformed into a screenplay. The Kiln and Sky will select three writers to take forward into development with the Kiln. Following completion, there will be a baton-pass to Sky with the ambition of bringing the screenplays onto the Sky in-house development slate.
Access All Areas was set up to provide scholarship funding to support three people receiving the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. The relationship has evolved into a partnership with theatre and production company Access All Areas, which support learning disabled and autistic students on their Performance Making Diploma provide a course on how to go from ideation to screen. This programme is delivered in partnership with Access All Areas. Students work with leading arts professionals to create performances in different styles and explore ways to make a performer career. Students are asked to develop ideas alongside a seasoned writer who teaches them character development, world building, and how to pitch their ideas. At the end of the process, the students then pitch their work to Sky with the intention that we take an idea into paid development.
shortFLIX is a short film initiative led by Creative England in partnership with Sky Arts for aspiring new filmmakers aged 18-25 who are not in full-time education, employment or training. Ideas are sought from creative, talented, and ambitious young people who can make great short films for broadcast on Sky Arts. Up to 20 successful applicants are guided to write a short film script and pitch their projects to commissioners. Five projects are awarded funding, and the finalists work with a budget of up to £10,000 each and a professional team to make their short films for showcase on Sky Arts. SHORTFLIX provides training, mentorship, funding and industry exposure, with professional guidance provided at every stage.
National Film and Television School Partnership. Sky is the headline sponsor and a course partner of the National Film & Television School, providing funding and input into course curriculum, insights, briefing sessions and placements for students on the following courses:
- Camera, Sound and Vision Mixing Diploma
- Creative Digital Producing Diploma
- Motion Graphics and Titles Diploma
- Television Entertainment Format Development
- TV Drama Module
Sky has held a relationship with the NFTS for the last 20 years, and in 2019 a four-year sponsorship deal was signed. As a headline sponsor, Sky has financially backed the NFTS to build a state-of-the-art studio, the first UHD training studio in Europe. Alongside the financial sponsorship, Sky contributes to the course content and offers students 4-6 weeks placements at Sky. At the end of each course, Sky selected one individual to do a 3-month paid placement. Sky employees are also eligible to get a place on their short-term specialist courses.