Olivia Colman’s South Of The River Pictures and its commercial partner Sister are launching a comedy writer competition, with at least one winner getting the chance to develop a TV script with the companies.
The Screenshot initiative will be spearheaded by Debo Adebayo and will focus on comedy writer-performers from a theatre background. The aim is to help them take their work from the stage to the screen in much the same way as competition judge Phoebe Waller-Bridge did with Fleabag.
Joining Waller-Bridge on the panel will be Colman, actress Lolly Adefope, comedian Rosie Jones, BBC comedy commissioner Kate Daughton, Channel 4 head of comedy Fiona McDermott and Sky commissioner Tilusha Ghelan. Longlisted candidates will pitch their projects to the panel.
Winners will go into paid development, while shortlisted candidates will also receive a contribution towards the development or budget of their next live theatrical show. The competition is a direct response to the devastating impact coronavirus has had on the performing arts industry.
Colman and South Of The River partner Ed Sinclair said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer a new outlet for the thwarted creative energies of our brilliant writer-performers and look forward to discovering and supporting some amazing new talent.”
Sister executive producer Naomi de Pear added: “We hope this scheme, in some small way, can be an outlet for some of the incredible talent that has had opportunities snatched away this year. So if you’re currently driving your flatmates/partner/mother/ grandad/ kids potty with your one-person show this is the place for you. It’s the spirit of live comedy and theatre and the intensity of writer-performer driven work that makes it so special so don’t hold back.”