Another opportunity for NE sketch writers

Published: 18 September 2018
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Leading comedy writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (Porridge, The Likely Lads, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads and Auf Wiedersehen Pet) are supporting the Sketch for Sammy competition in which local comedy writers are invited to submit a sketch which will be considered for inclusion in a future Sunday for Sammy show.

“Dick and I have been involved with Sunday for Sammy for twenty years,” said Ian La Frenais. “The charity has given invaluable support to young performers in the North East of England and we’re very happy to endorse the Sketch for Sammy competition for new comedy writers. Good luck to all of the contestants!”

The 2018 award will be launched at a free event on Sunday 30 September at 11:00 at the Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle. Host writer and stand-up comic Jason Cook will explain the mysteries of comedy writing with examples of his own work and that of previous Sketch for Sammy winners.

Following the launch, budding new comedy writers from the region will have until the closing date of Sunday 14 October to submit their sketches. Shortlisted entrants will be contacted and Cook will help polish the scripts to performance level.

Entry to the competition is open to anyone over 16.

The final will take place on Sunday 11 November at 3:00 at The Exchange in North Shields and will be hosted by Billy Mitchell. The six shortlisted sketches will be performed by a company of professional actors from the Laffalang Gang and the writer of the winning sketch will receive the Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais Comedy Award.

A panel of celebrity judges including 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. The sketch may be considered for inclusion in a future Sunday for Sammy show. Tickets for the final at the Exchange in North Shields are free and can be obtained by e-mail.

“All good comedy starts with the script,” said Chairman of the Trustees Tim Healy. “The Sketch for Sammy competition gives aspiring North East comedy writers the opportunity to see their work performed by professional actors and a chance to win the Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais Comedy Award. You’d be mad not to give it a go.”

Sunday for Sammy is a biennial charity concert held in Newcastle in memory of local actor and musician Sammy Johnson who dies suddenly in 1998. The first concert was held in 2000. The income is used to provide grants for young actors, musicians, singers, dancers, comedy acts and other performers to help towards the cost of their training or equipment.

This is the second comedy sketch competition to be held in the region this year. The other was organised by Alphabetti Theatre.