Meet Sky's future comedy writing stars | Winners of mentoring scheme announced

Meet Sky's future comedy writing stars

Winners of mentoring scheme announced

Stand-up Rob Carter is one of 11 writers picked to take part in a six-month programme to develop new comedy writing.

More than 750 aspiring writers applied for the Sky Comedy Rep scheme run by Sky Studios and the Birmingham Repertory Theatre to develop talent from across the UK. 

The chosen writers will now go on to develop the one-act plays they submitted through a paid programme of workshops and mentoring from established writers such as Holly Walsh, Emma Fryer, Robin French, Daniel Lawrence Taylor, Oriane Messina and Fay Rusling.

Those on the scheme met in Birmingham for the first time over the weekend at a workshop led by The Rep's artistic driector, Sean Foley, whose credits include The Play What I Wrote, and Sky Studios comedy boss Anil Gupta, who was also executive producer of The Office.

Gupta said:  ‘We were overwhelmed by the response to this scheme and the strength of talent we saw in the applications. We have found 11 truly exceptional writers who hail from all over the UK, and whose unique voices tap into the humour of where they are from. They have exciting futures ahead of them and Sky Studios are proud to be helping them on their path.’

Foley added: 'It is especially thrilling to see such a diverse group of individuals, hailing from  backgrounds and from all over the UK.'

The programme will culminate in a live staging of the plays at the three-day Sky Comedy Rep Festival in Birmingham in March.

The chosen writers are:

Rhianna Ilube: A Bristol-based playwright and facilitator, who is already a member of the Royal Court writers group, and Artist-in-Residence at the activist youth movement  Advocacy Academy. 

Jingan Young: A London-based rom-com fan whose script in the genre,  No 2 Daughter - is currently in development with Greenacre Films. She  also edited the play collection Foreign Goods published by Oberon Books. 

Ashfaq Gorsi: An actor and writer from Manchester who is currently performing for The Northern Comedy Theatre in a UK Tour All Above Board, written by Nigel Planer. Ash spent two months in LA taking acting classes and began writing his daily musings in a journal, which led to writing two short films. 

Ryan Walker-Edwards: As well as writing, Birmingham-based Ryan's acting work includes The Archers and Doctors and he has recently been commissioned by BBC Arts to write and produce two short radio projects. He also co-founded an electronic music platform, Incognito Radio. 

Rob Carter: An actor/comedian based in London who has performed as his alter ego - the dreadful writer Christopher Bliss - at the Edinburgh Fringe, Soho Theatre, on 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, and making spoof film reviews for Amazon Prime. Winner of the Musical Comedy Awards and finalist at the BBC New Comedy Awards, Rob also won Best Foreign Short at the LA Comedy Festival for his first film, The Raisin.

Drew Vida Marke: A writer from London who says she developed a passion for make-believe worlds after one too many trips to Disney World. She has been selected for Channel 4’s 4Screenwriting, the BFI’s Best of Year list, the BBC hotlist and won a Film London Borough Award. 

Ed Amsden & Tom Coles:  A comedy writing partnership whose broadcast credits include Dead Ringers and The News Quiz. Based in Leighton Buzzard and Westcliff-on-Sea, their career ambition is to write authentic television sitcoms with a distinct working-class voice.

Mari & Lowri Izzard: Identical twins from working-class roots in Bridgend, South Wales. While filming together on comedy feature Brian & Charles, the writer-performers say they realised they actually really enjoyed working together! This is the duo’s first official writing collaboration together. 

Kat Rose-Martin: A Bradford-based writer and performer,  she’s performed at Shakespeare’s Globe, written for Holby City; attended an LA writers' room via Zoom, ‘and had her foot run over by a golf cart when doing promo work for dairy-free butter’.

Selected writers were asked to submit sample pages for a short, one-act comic play based around the simple premise of a meeting or situation that develops around a park bench.  

Published: 16 Sep 2021

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