Birmingham REP and Sky look for comedy writers

Published: 28 May 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Sky Studios’ creative director of comedy Anil Gupta and Birmingham REP artistic director Sean Foley

Birmingham REP and Sky Studios have set up Sky Comedy REP, a new partnership that aims to discover and develop regional comedy writing talent from across the UK, particularly from communities that have traditionally been under-represented in the arts.

Dame Julie Walters is patron of the scheme which will select nine new writers to develop a one-act stage play. The plays will focus on a simple premise: a meeting on a park bench. All nine plays will be performed at a three-day comedy festival at the REP early in 2022.

Throughout the six-month programme, writers will be paid for their work and receive one-to-one mentoring from British comedy names including Meera Syal, Simon Blackwell, Danny Brocklehurst and Guz Khan. There will also be a series of workshops and masterclasses at the REP featuring insights into all aspects of writing and production.

The REP's artistic director Sean Foley and Sky Studios’ creative director of comedy Anil Gupta will oversee the project.

Dame Julie Walters said, "I’m honoured to be patron of this important initiative to provide a platform for new comedy writing talent. Participants will be given access to some of the very best in the business while being given a paid opportunity to develop their skills and materials. I very much look forward to seeing and enjoying the results."

Foley added, "Sky Comedy REP is a unique and ambitious talent development programme for comedy writing in the UK. Developing and nurturing new talent from wherever it springs is a cornerstone of everything the REP does and we’re thrilled that this new partnership with Sky Studios will enable new, diverse voices to take first steps in our industry.”

To be eligible for the project, writers must not have had their writing broadcast on television or performed in any theatre above 200 seats in size. Further information is available at the Birmingham REP web site. The deadline for submissions is Monday 28 June.