Sky Studios Pacts with Birmingham Repertory for Writing Scheme


Sky Studios and Birmingham Repertory Theatre have launched Sky Comedy REP, a new partnership that aims to discover and develop new regional comedy writing talent from across the U.K., particularly from underrepresented communities.

The scheme is now open for entries today and features Dame Julie Walters as patron. It will see nine writers selected to develop a one-act stage play. This year, all the plays will focus on a meeting on a park bench. All nine plays will then be performed at a three-day comedy festival at The REP early next year, featuring up-and-coming actors and emerging directors.

Throughout the six-month program, writers will be paid for their work and receive one-to-one mentoring from British comedy stars Meera Syal (Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars), Simon Blackwell (The Thick of It, Veep) Danny Brocklehurst (Brassic, Shameless) and Guz Khan (Man Like Mobeen). The scheme will also include a series of workshops and Masterclasses at The REP.

The initiative will be overseen by The REP’s Artistic Director Sean Foley (The Play What I Wrote) and Sky Studios Creative Director of ComedyAnil Gupta (Goodness Gracious Me, The Office).

Dame Julie Walters, patron of Sky Comedy REP, said: “I am honored to be Patron of this important new initiative to provide a platform for new comedy writing talent. Participants will be given access to some of the very best in the business whilst being given a paid opportunity to develop their skills and materials. I very much look forward to seeing, and enjoying, the final results.”

Anil Gupta, creative director of comedy at Sky Studios, said: “At Sky Studios, our ambition is to work with the funniest, most talented writers wherever they may be. When new and underrepresented voices are nurtured and encouraged, it creates better comedy, that speaks to more of our audience, a belief we share with The REP.”

Sean Foley, Birmingham REP artistic director said: “Sky Comedy REP is a unique and ambitious talent development program for Comedy Writing in the U.K. Developing and nurturing new talent from wherever it springs is a cornerstone of everything The REP does, and we are thrilled that this new partnership with Sky Studios will enable new diverse voices to take first steps in our industry. Comedy is a genre very close to my heart—I’m delighted to be creating this new initiative alongside some of the U.K.’s leading names in comedy, including our patron, the great Dame Julie Walters.”