Andrew Dipper

Jason Cook fronts new comedy talent search

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Pictured: Jason Cook with fellow judge Gavin Webster.

Jason Cook is fronting a new competition for budding comedy writers.

The creator of BBC Two sitcom Hebburn will help judge a new comedy talent search by the Sunday For Sammy Trust, who are offering up to ten comedy writers the chance to have their sketches professionally performed in a joint venture with the Laffalang sketch team.

Geordie comedian Gavin Webster, who has a monthly show at Newcastle’s Live Theatre, will also be on the judging panel.

Cook and Webster will select up to ten 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 Stand in August during which sketches, written at the first school, will be rehearsed and then performed by professional actors to an invited audience that will include industry professionals.

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-based legends Lindisfarne, told us: “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,” said 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.”

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.”

Sunday for Sammy, whose bi-annual shows at Newcastle City Hall have reached legendary status since their inception in 2000, exists to help people get established in the performing arts.

Some recipients of grants from Sunday for Sammy have already made huge progress in the performing arts – including Cook himself, who was one of the first benefactors of a grant from the charity.

Sketches should be between 500 words and 1,000 words maximum and submitted to Ray Laidlaw at [email protected] See www.sundayforsammy.org for the competition details and rules.