Olivia Colman and Ed Sinclair’s indie South of the River and SISTER are launching a competition to seek out new comedy writer/performers  that will be judged by Colman, Phoebe Waller – Bridge, Lolly Adefope, Rosie Jones and a panel of comedy commissioners.

SCREENSHOT is billed as a “bold new competition designed to create essential opportunities for emerging comedy writer performers  to showcase their work following a summer of cultural lockdown.”  It will be funded by South of the River and SISTER and will provide successful applicants with the opportunity to develop their original idea from stage to screen.

Longlisted candidates will be invited to present their projects to a judging panel comprised of acclaimed writer/ performers, Lolly Adefope (Ghosts, Shrill) Rosie Jones (Live at the Apollo and Sex Education S3) and Phoebe Waller – Bridge (Killing Eve, Fleabag) whose careers have all been built on the foundations of self-penned, solo stage shows. The trio line-up alongside industry experts including Olivia Colman (The Favourite, Peep Show) BBC Head of Comedy Kate Daughton (Fleabag, Alma’s Not Normal, Man Like Mobeen), Channel 4 Head of Comedy Fiona McDermott (Steth Lets Flats, Derry Girls, Maxxx) and Sky Commissioning Editor Tilusha Ghelani (Breeders, Urban Myths, Bloods) and representatives from South of the River and SISTER.

At least one candidate will receive a script commission to work with either or both development teams at South of the River and SISTER to advance and hone their project for the small screen.

Shortlisted candidates will also receive a contribution towards the development or budget of their next live theatrical show.

The competition, a direct response to the impact Covid-19 has had on the performing arts is open to applications from UK-based comedy writer-performers who already have a theatre project developed or semi-developed, and have not previously had an original project produced for television, film or streaming service. Applicants interested in developing that project for screen will be invited to provide a 5-minute video showcasing their project, together with a written personal statement.

To enter for full application criteria go to www.southoftheriverpictures.com/screenshot

South of the River: Ed Sinclair and Olivia Colman say – “We’re passionate about live storytelling and know there’s nothing quite like it – Ed and I met doing a play that we took to Edinburgh! But 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 says: “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.”

Lolly, Rosie and Phoebe say:  “We literally wouldn’t have careers if theatres and performance spaces had shut down when we were starting out.  So we’re delighted to be a part of this initiative and to offer our fellow writer performers somewhere to direct their brilliance.  We can’t wait to see some of the results!”

Debo Adebayo says  – “I cannot wait to get going with this exciting new scheme. It’s been a difficult and disappointing Spring and Summer for many artists but Screenshot will provide a magnificent opportunity in television during a time of so much uncertainty in theatre. It’s to South of The River and Sister’s credit to have come up with this unique offer. I look forward to finding talented, diverse performer-playwrights. Get those applications in!’

Kate Daughton, Fiona McDermott and Tilusha Ghelani say  – “We will all be out of a job if writer performers aren’t able to showcase material that we can all fight to commission, so collectively – and competitively- we’re all elated to support this great opportunity”


Jon Creamer

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