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Comedy writers talent programme launches in Northern Ireland

Date Posted: July 11, 2016

Creative Skillset and Grand Scheme Media are delighted to announce the Northern Ireland* Comedy Writers programme. Aimed at Northern Irish* writers interested in writing Comedy Drama and narrative Comedy, writers will be able to submit a script which, if shortlisted, will be performed live on stage at the Belfast Media Festival in November 2016.

The writing programme opens today, 11th July 2016, and writers can submit one script of no more than 25 mins duration. The script must be either comedy drama or narrative comedy and suitable for staging at the festival.

Writers must submit their scripts to Grand Scheme Media by 3rd August 2016. A shortlist will be announced on 2nd September 2016.

The six shortlisted writers will be connected with industry professionals to prepare their scripts for showcasing. In addition to staging the six shortlisted works, we anticipate there will be a sustained ongoing effort to bring new scripts and talents to the screen.

This new and exciting programme has been created by Grand Scheme Media, in association with key funding partner Creative Skillset and supported by Northern Ireland Screen and BBC Northern Ireland. Also closely involved will be BBC Comedy Commissioning, the BBC Writersroom, the Belfast Comedy Writers group and, of course, the Belfast Media Festival team.


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KICKSTART a new era of television writing and production in Northern Ireland.

CREATE a landmark event, one that flags Ireland as being home to amazing talents.

CONNECT diverse local talent to the British and Irish television industry.

  • To connect diverse, emerging writing talent from Northern Ireland* with the wider UK production industry, including independent producers, commissioners and broadcasters.
  • To provide practical advice, education and contacts for that talent.
  • To help nurture a new generation of narrative television writers which in turn will increase production output from Northern Ireland*.


  • As part of the 2016 Belfast Media Festival (BMF), six writers from Northern Ireland* will have their works performed, read or screened on stage in a special Showcase.
  • Directed and performed by Northern Irish* talent, these works will take the form of script extracts from completed narrative works in the Comedy Drama or Comedy genres.
  • Writers will submit their work for assessment by a small panel of professional producers and script editors. A shortlist will then be released.
  • Each writer will work with a professional mentor who will help edit his or her work for the showcase.
  • The final pieces will be rehearsed in Belfast and prepared for the event by a professional director.


Eligible writers submit scripts to a judging panel of industry experts.

  • Scripts will be no less than 15 minutes and no longer than 25 minutes.
  • Scripts will be comedy drama, situation comedy or sketch comedy, must be written for the screen, and suitable for live reading.
  • Scripts will be original comedy ideas and feature no more than six main characters.
  • GSM and their approved Script Editors will read submissions and prepare a shortlist of 6 scripts which will be announced at the Festival.
  • Each writer will receive professional advice on his or her work. Writers will be able to write several drafts prior to the final showcase.
  • Shortlisted works will be performed at the 2016 Belfast Media Festival. We anticipate this event taking no more than 75.00 minutes with one interval.
  • Industry professionals from the main broadcast channels, indies and online platforms will be invited to attend.
  • Writers will have a chance to network with industry professionals and receive professional guidance.

* Northern Ireland writers relates to those based in the region, from the region or who regularly work in the region.

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