An opportunity for North East sketch writers

Published: 25 July 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The launch of the 2019 award with (front) Chris Connel, Ray Laidlaw, Gareth Hunter, Viktoria Kay; (back) Steffen Peddie, Kylie Ann Ford, Paul Dunn

Sunday for Sammy is a biennial entertainment extravaganza held in memory of the late actor Sammy Johnson. It was first held in 2000 and always features a galaxy of stars from the worlds of TV, theatre and music. The show's aim is to raise funds for creative, talented and enthusiastic young performing artists from the North East.

Now For the fifth year running, the team behind Sunday for Sammy is holding a competition to find a talented new comedy sketch writer, a contest endorsed by two of the biggest names in comedy script writing, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.

A Sketch for Sammy—The Clement and La Frenais Comedy Award 2019 was launched on Sunday 21 July at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle. The launch featured performances of two previous winning sketches and was hosted by comedian Steffen Peddie.

Writers from the region are invited to submit a five-minute sketch. A shortlist of six finalists will be created and comedian and comedy writer Jason Cook will help polish the scripts to performance level at a specially arranged mentoring session.

The competition closes on 1 October and entrants, who must be over 16, should submit their sketch via e-mail to [email protected].

The final will take place on Sunday 27 October at 3PM at The Irish Centre in Stowell Street, Newcastle. The six shortlisted sketches will be performed by a company of professional actors and the writer of the winning sketch will receive the Clement and La Frenais Comedy Award. In addition to the six competing sketches, there will be stand-up comedy, music and a guest appearance from young comedy company Your Aunt Fanny, who themselves recently benefited from a grant from the Sunday for Sammy Trust.

A panel of celebrity judges comprising actress and comedy scriptwriter Kim Tserkezie (Balamory), comedy writer Elliott Kerrigan (Boy Meets Girl) and the Chairman of the Sunday for Sammy Trust, Tim Healy, will choose the winning sketch which will be considered for inclusion in the 2020 Sunday for Sammy show.

“Last year, Dick Clement and I were asked to put our names to a comedy award for new sketch writers hosted by Sunday for Sammy,” said Ian La Frenais. “We have been involved with Sunday for Sammy since the first show in 2000. During that time, the charity has donated over £540K to support young performers in the North East of England. We're very happy to endorse the Sketch for Sammy competition again and wish all of the contestants the best of luck.”

“This is an amazing opportunity for any budding writers to get their work seen and potentially performed by the best in the business,” added Sunday for Sammy Trustee Jason Cook. “Chances like this don't come along very often so if you're thinking of becoming a writer you'd be daft to miss out on this.”