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Birmingham Rep and Sky host comedy plays festival

Published: 17 February 2022
Reporter: Steve Orme

Culmination of The Rep’s comedy writing talent development scheme: Sky Comedy Rep

Birmingham Rep’s “ground-breaking” collaboration with Sky Studios will come to fruition when audiences will be invited to enjoy the work of the comedy writing stars of the future.

Sky Comedy Rep will host its first festival of new comedic short plays at Birmingham Rep from Thursday 3 until Saturday 5 March.

Eleven writers will present nine new plays in two sets of performances, each played twice over the course of three days, under the mentorship of some of the UK’s biggest names in comedy writing including Guz Khan, Meera Syal and Danny Brocklehurst.

The performances are the culmination of the Rep’s comedy writing talent development scheme with Sky Studios. Headed by the Rep’s artistic director Sean Foley and creative director of comedy at Sky Studios Anil Gupta, this yearly bursary and mentorship scheme gives early-career comedy writers the opportunity to have their ideas and scripts developed.

Foley said, “it’s been incredibly rewarding to see these gifted early-career writers benefit from the Sky Comedy Rep programme. From working with their mentors to having their scripts go through the rehearsal process and into production, this ambitious scheme is a unique way to test and improve their work. And now for the final test—the audience. Are the plays actually funny? I think they are and I’m so looking forward to seeing them in performance.”

Gupta added, “whether it’s for theatre or television, comedy benefits from having a diverse pool of writers in the industry, and with Sky Comedy Rep we want to give young, talented, funny people nurturing, encouragement and most importantly a foot in the door.

“In our first year, we were inundated with applicants and have lined up some of the best people in the business as mentors. We’re incredibly proud of the results. We’re looking forward to this scheme going from strength to strength, creating the writing stars of the future.”

Sky Comedy Rep can be seen in the Studio at Birmingham Rep. Performances on Thursday 3 March at 7:45PM and Saturday 5 March at 3:45PM will be Hatch by Rob Carter, Twitch by Ed Amsden and Tom Coles, Confucius Says Don’t Use F***ing Tinder on the Full Moon by Jingan Young and Desperate by Kat Rose-Martin.

Performances on Friday 4 March and Saturday 5 March at 7:45PM will be Pink Spaceship by Drew Vida Marke, Boys Who Cry by Ryan Walker-Edwards, Sprint by Jodie Irvin, Mismatch by Ashfaq Gorsi and Spoffin by Mari and Lowri Izzard.

The cast includes Charlotte Brown, Sam Butters, Linda Hargreaves, Duncan Hess, Kerena Jagpal, Adonis Jenieco, Karen Johal, Danielle Kassarate, Su-Linn Looi, Toyin Omari-Kinch, Danielle Phillips, Colin Ryan, Kate Spencer, Nylah Taylor-Johnson and Maanuv Thiara.

The series of plays will be directed by Foley and the Rep’s associate directors Iqbal Kahn and Madeleine Kludje.

The creative team for Sky Comedy Rep includes set and costume designer Ebrahim Nazier, lighting designer Richard G Jones, sound designer Clive Meldrum, casting director Marc Frankum and assistant director Alice Chambers.