Search for a new star
THE hunt is on to find a new comedy talent who will have a chance to share the spotlight at the Sunday for Sammy showcase.
The fundraiser, which brings together some of the biggest names in North East entertainment, has on the past four occasions offered a slot on its programme to be filled by an up-and-coming sketchwriter.
The winners of the A Sketch for Sammy competition to find emerging talent have seen their words brought to life by actors on stage during the Geordie variety show.
And the announcement that the next competition is set to be launched comes accompanied by news that two of the best comedy writers around have signed up to support it.
The Likely Lads and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet creators Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement, who were recently on Tyneside to attend Whitley Bay Film Festival, are endorsing this year’s hunt for a sketchwriter which is to be launched at a free event at The Stand comedy club in Newcastle on Sunday, September 30.
At 11am on the day, the event - which is being co-presented by Sunday for Sammy and The Exchange in North Shields - will see popular local stand-up comic and writer Jason Cook play host and talk about comedy writing, using examples of his own work and that of previous Sketch for Sammy winners.
He called it “an amazing opportunity” for aspiring writers to get their Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais work seen and said: “Chances like this don’t come along very often.”
The launch will mark the opening of the competition which is open to anyone aged over 16 and the region’s budding comedy writers then have until the October 14 to submit their sketches.
Short-listed entrants will be contacted and Cook will help them to polish their scripts to performance level.
The competition final is set to take place at 3pm on Sunday, November 11 at The Exchange, North Shields, in front of a capacity audience.
Hosted by Lindisfarne favourite and Sunday for Sammy regular Billy Mitchell, the event will see the six shortlisted sketches performed by professional actors from the wellknown Laffalang Gang.
And the writer of the winning sketch - which may be considered for inclusion in a future Sunday for Sammy show - will receive the Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais Comedy Award.
The event will also include more stand-up comedy, music, Laffalang sketches and viewings of previous winning sketches on video.
Ian La Frenais, who - joined by Clement - took part in a Likely Ladstheme bus tour during his recent visit, said: “Dick Clement and I have been involved with Sunday for Sammy for 20 years.
“The charity has given invaluable support to young performers in the North East and we’re very happy to endorse the Sketch for Sammy competition for new comedy writers.”
Sunday for Sammy producer Ray Laidlaw said: “We’re very honoured that this year, Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement have put their names to this award.
“They are top of the comedy premier league with Porridge, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. They even write sketches for Sunday for Sammy in their spare time.
“Having them on board is inspiring for the new writers, the audience and us too.”
Anyone wanting to enter should send a sketch to email@example.com by Sunday, October 14.
Those wanting to book tickets to attend the final at The Exchange can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday for Sammy, in memory of the late Tyneside actosr Sammy Johnson, helps young performers.