Birmingham Rep presents Parklife – The Second Festival in Birmingham of New Comedy Writing.
Following the success of the inaugural Sky Comedy Rep scheme in 2021/22, the rising stars of the comedy world continue to be show-cased at The Rep with never-before-seen work in Parklife, the second Festival of New Comedy Writing from Sky Comedy Rep from Monday 22nd–Saturday 27th May.
This year’s Festival provides fans with a chance to see the premier of a series of eight hilarious one-act plays from the funniest writers across the country. From miscommunication, mayhem, midnight trysts to sworn enemies, un-arranged marriages, an eco-protest, vampires, Karl Marx, fishing AND a whole lot of funny!
The plays will feature up and coming actors and emerging directors reflecting the new works and raw creativity in its purest form.
The overall scheme was established and is led by The Rep’s Artistic Director, Olivier Award-winning Sean Foley (The Play What I Wrote) and Sky Studios Creative Director of Comedy, BAFTA Award-winning Anil Gupta (Goodness Gracious Me, The Office).
Sean Foley commented “I am incredibly excited to help these eight brilliant comedy writers take their first steps in this amazing industry.Developing and nurturing new talent is central to what we do at The Rep.”
Over 400 aspiring writers applied to this year’s scheme culminating with the final diverse group of eight being mentored by some of the UK’s best comedy writing talent including Sanjeev Bhaskar, Liam Williams, Morwenna Banks, Laurence Rickard, Nathan Foads, Danielle Ward, Daniel Lawrence Taylor and Paul Doolan.
The theme for this year’s Festival of plays is a ‘proposal in a park’ from writers:
om Critch (Salford) – Title ‘Suckers’
Tom describes himself as a cack-handed Salfordian scribe with ideas way above his station, and wholly unreliable ankles. He is winner of the David Nobbs Memorial Trust competition and winner of Best Comedy at the Portobello Film Festival. Comedy has always been in his blood, which shows you how lackadaisical the NHS can be sometimes.
Doug Crossley (Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent) – Title‘Tree Shall Not Be Moved’
Doug is a writer and performer, originally from Stoke on Trent. Past recognition includes being a finalist for the Mercury Weinberger playwriting prize and winning a place on the BAFTA Rocliffe Forum List for his original sitcom, Fairies. He can often be found performing improv comedy on a house team at The Free Association in London.
Alice Etches – (London) Title ‘Patch’
Alice Etches is a writer, actor and comedy performer. She has written for several series across TV and Radio, and was a finalist in the David Nobbs Competition 2018, Funny Women writing awards 2019 and BCG’s Yellow Door competition 2020. Alice is currently working on a number of short films, and sitcom scripts. Her character skits and sketches can be found on Instagram @aliceetches
Aoife Kennan – (Durham) Title ‘Immaculate’
Aoife is an actor and writer. She grew up in Durham but identifies as Irish and has the passport to prove it. She was recently on the Royal Court Writers Programme and has developed work through Masterclass Script Sessions. Her new play, SCRATCHES (a funny show about self-harm) was showcased at new writing nights at the Jermyn Street Theatre and will show at VAULT Festival in 2023.
Mahad Ali (London) – Black Men Fishing’Mahad was part of BBC Studios Writers Academy 2021, where he worked on continuing drama series Eastenders, Holby City and Casualty. Also, a part of the inaugural Tamasha Theatre Playwriting group, Mahad performed at Stratford Theatre Royal Stratford East, Rich Mix, Park and Soho Theatre’s with Tamasha and Paines Plough. Currently Mahad’s is passionate about developing TV comedy/drama ideas which share the fun, joy and pain of the Black British African experience.
Georgie Morrell (London) – The Start of a Beautiful Friendship
Georgie Morrell is a comedian, writer, voiceover artist and award-nominated actress, who has performed at various fringe festivals across the country including Great Yorkshire, Guildford and Leicester, along with three solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. Georgie has written for Metro and The Huffington Post. She has also featured in Time Out magazine and is an ambassador for the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC).
Hattie Soykan (Manchester) – Arranged Nikah
Hattie Soykan is a queer comedy writer who grew up with four cats, two rabbits, and a whole lot of existential dread in a tight-knit Muslim community in Manchester. She began her career at BuzzFeed where she wrote funny articles about pop culture and social commentary and has dabbled in writing sketch comedy at Soho Theatre. These days Hattie lives in London, with just one cat and a healthy sprinkle of leftover existential dread, where she writes stories centred around culture, sexuality, and identity.
Asia Wray (Birmingham) – Bruk Pocket Girl
Asia is a writer and poet hailing from Birmingham. Her work has featured on billboard campaigns for SPK ABOUT IT (I Want to Run at Night) and Open Media (International Women’s Day). Her career ambition is to tell powerful stories reflective of the world around her. She describes this experience as a ‘full circle moment’, having left the city ten years ago.
As a result of the work developed and performed at The Rep during the first Festival last year, a number of 2021/22’s cohort of writers have gone on to develop projects for Sky Studios and a range of other producers and broadcasters.
For tickets to Sky Comedy Rep visit Birmingham-rep.co.uk , call 0121 236 4455 or visit the box office during opening hours.