The BBC’s Controller of Comedy Commissioning, Shane Allen, has set out plans for the ‘BBC Comedy Association’, an amalgam of comedy awards and talent development initiatives aimed at unearthing “new and exciting voices.”

Firstly, the BBC Comedy Association will oversee the return of the New Comedy Awards to television and is also adding two new categories to the Awards; one for performers under-18 and another short-form category that will be run through social platforms. “This digitalisation of opportunity will remove barriers to entry and further a meritocracy of opportunity.”

Early next year, the BCA will appoint a Young People’s Comedy Laureate who will be a figurehead to shape and promote outreach initiatives. The Young People’s Comedy Laureate and a selected group of ambassadors will launch and run workshops in schools and colleges, with masterclasses and talks from comedians, writers and industry experts.

The live BBC One final of the New Comedy Awards will form the centrepiece of the BBC Comedy Festival, a brand new event which will celebrate the cultural contribution comedy makes to the UK. The festival will feature a range of showcases, workshops and screenings and take place in 2021’s City of Comedy.

There will also be further production bursaries as well as mentoring and production shadowing opportunities.

Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning says: “The BBC Comedy Association is dedicated to creating extra opportunities that keep the industry afloat and more vibrant than it has ever been to safeguard the future of British comedy.”

Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer says: “Comedy is such a critical genre for audiences and the BBC is well placed to take on the challenges facing the comedy industry right now.  Today outlines a new drive to engage and enable budding comedy talent from all over the UK to rise to the fore.”

Jon Creamer

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