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Sky Studios and Birmingham Rep announce eight finalists for new comedy talent scheme: Sky Comedy Rep

28/11/2022

The partnership, now in its second year, aims to discover and develop new comedy writing talent from across the UK.

Over 400 aspiring writers applied.Eight of these now begin a six-month paid programme to produce a one-act comedy play.

Some of the UKs best comedy writing talent including Sanjeev Bhaskar, Liam Williams, Morwenna Banks, Laurence Rickard, Nathan Foads, Danielle Ward, Daniel Lawrence Taylor and Paul Doolan set to mentor new writers over six months.

Tickets are on sale from today for the live premier of all eight plays which takes place at The Rep in May 2023.

Sky Comedy Rep, the new talent partnership between Sky Studios and Birmingham Rep, today announced the eight new comedy writers who are about to embark on a six-month paid training programme to develop a new piece of work, mentored by some of the UK's best comedy writing talent.

Following the success of the inaugural Sky Comedy Rep scheme in 2021/22, over 400 applicants pitched for the final eight available places in 2022/23. This year's brief was to submit a sample of a one-act play set around the simple premise of Proposal in the Park. After scrutiny by the selection team from Sky Studios and The Rep a group of new writers hailing from across the UK - Salford, Stoke-on-Trent, Durham, Manchester and Birmingham - made the final cut.They will now further develop their plays with guidance from this years mentors who are today announced as Sanjeev Bhaskar, Liam Williams, Morwenna Banks, Laurence Rickard, Nathan Foads, Danielle Ward, Daniel Lawrence Taylor and Paul Doolan.

In addition to providing training, mentoring and a professional showcase, Sky Comedy Rep is already providing new British comedy writing talent with a springboard into the industry.As a result of the work developed and performed at The Rep earlier this year, a number of 2021/22s cohort of writers have gone on to develop projects for Sky Studios and a range of other producers and broadcasters.

More detail about the process and an introduction to the writers can be found below in Notes to Editors.

The writers will meet in Birmingham next month at a workshop led by Iqbal Khan - Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony Director, Tartuffe (RSC and Birmingham Rep), and East is East (Birmingham Rep) - and Madeleine Kludje, Rep Associate Director and Talent Development lead (Grimeboy, Birmingham Rep).

The overall scheme was established and is led by The Reps 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 said: "Last years success and the brilliant work we were witness to at the showcase made it clear that the Sky Comedy Rep is here to stay. At Sky Studios and The Rep we have forged a pipeline which is already channelling excellent comedy talent into this industry. Our new crop of writers hail from all over the UK and have already demonstrated exceptional creative, comedic talent. Sky Studios is proud to work with them as they start out on their careers, and we look forward to a future of discovering and unlocking still more talent for everyone to appreciate and enjoy - live and on TV."

Sean Foley added: "I am incredibly excited to help these eight brilliant comedy writers take their first steps in this amazing industry.Developing and nurturing new talent is central to what we do at The Rep.Last year we saw and heard the work of a brilliantly talented and diverse group of creatives who reflected all manner of backgrounds from around the UK, with an especial focus on those under-represented in our industry.The extraordinary response to their work meant that there was no hesitation from our side in making Sky Comedy Rep a regular and dynamic event in our calendar. I cant wait to see where this years writers will take us and themselves!"

The writers programme culminates in a live staging with Sky Comedy Rep presents Parklife: A Festival of New Comedy Writing in May 2023 and will feature up and coming actors and emerging directors meaning that this really is new work and raw creativity in its purest form.Tickets are available now here

This year's mentors are:

Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE, is the award-winning writer and actor behind Goodness Gracious Me, and The Kumars at No 42'

Liam Williams, a stand up, writer and actor, Liam is the creator of Ladhood, Pls Like, as well as being one third of acclaimed sketch troupe Sheeps

Morwenna Banks, award-winning actor, writer and producer Morwenna is currently writing Sky's Funny Woman (out early 2023), alongside Damned, and Slow Horses.

Laurence Rickard, writer and star of the historical sketch show Horrible Histories, Laurence has gone onto be the co-creator and writer behind Yonderland and Ghosts.

Nathan Foad, writer, comedian and actor originally from Newark-on-Trent, Nathan has written on The Young Offenders, and is the creator of Newark, Newark.

Danielle Ward, writing credits include Brassic, Mongrels, Not Going Out, and Idris Elba's In the Long Run.

Daniel Lawrence Taylor, creator, writer and star of Timewasters, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA for best scripted comedy, and won the 2018 Royal Television Society award for Best Breakthrough

Paul Doolan, the writer & co-creator behind Trollied, as well as writing for Bloods, Cuckoo, and Top Coppers.

This years writers are:

Tom Critch

Tom describes himself as a cack-handed Salfordian scribe with ideas way above his station, and wholly unreliable ankles. He is winner of the David Nobbs Memorial Trust competition and winner of Best Comedy at the Portobello Film Festival. Comedy has always been in his blood, which shows you how lackadaisical the NHS can be sometimes.

Doug Crossley

Doug is a writer and performer, originally from Stoke on Trent. Past recognition includes being a finalist
LINK: https://www.skygroup.sky/en-gb/article/sky-studios-and-birmingham-rep-...
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