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Sunday for Sammy 2016: New writers get the chance to see their sketch on stage

Comedians Jason Cook and Gavin Webster will be helping to judge the competition aimed at developing new comedy writing talent

Comedians Gavin Webster and Jason Cook
Comedians Gavin Webster and Jason Cook

The Sunday for Sammy Trust are offering up to 10 comedy writers the chance to have their sketches professionally performed in an exciting joint venture with the popular Laffalang team.

The iconic North East charity, whose biennial shows at Newcastle City Hall have reached legendary status since their inception in 2000, exists to help people to get established in the performing arts. Some recipients of grants from Sunday for Sammy have already made remarkable progress in the performing arts.

Actor Lee Armstrong has the lead role in the touring production of Warhorse, musician Emily Hoile is second harpist in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and actress Alice Stokoe has the lead role in the West End production of Mamma Mia.

Working with Ed Waugh and the Laffalang sketch troupe, whose regular shows attract up to 400 people at the Westovian Theatre in South Shields, Sunday For Sammy producer Ray Laidlaw is inviting anyone from the region who can pen a funny sketch to try their hand.

Ray, who was the original drummer of Tyneside music legends Lindisfarne, says: “The Laffalang is a fantastic way to introduce new writers to the professional world. To have your work performed live by actors is a huge thrill.”

Any North East-based aspiring writer is invited to submit a sketch and the theme for the competition is “Spring”.

“It can be any aspect of the season,” says Ray. “We’re looking for concise material, written by individuals or pairs, that hits the funny bone. Entrants can be aged from 16 to 116. By the same token, we wouldn’t discriminate against anyone over 116 from entering.”

North East comedy stars Jason Cook and Gavin Webster, will judge the initial entries - Jason himself was one of the first recipients of a grant from Sunday for Sammy when he was in a sketch troupe called Soup.

The judges will select up to 10 people to go forward to a day-school at The Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle in July that will be run by Ed Waugh and Laffalang producer Gareth Hunter and attended by members of the regular Sunday for Sammy cast.

That will be followed by a second day-school at the venue in August during which the sketches will be further developed, rehearsed and performed by professional actors to an invited audience that will include industry professionals.

Ray added: “Who knows, some sketches might end up being performed at the next Laffalang and if someone exceptional emerges, he or she will be invited to write a five minute sketch for inclusion in the 2016 Sunday For Sammy show.”

Sketches should be between 500 words and 1,000 words and submitted to Ray Laidlaw at info@sundayforsammy.org. Check www.sundayforsammy.org for the full competition details and conditions.

Tickets for the next Sunday for Sammy concerts in 2016 will be going on sale in the summer.

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