By day they go about their business as a software developer, a science presenter, a housewife, a documentary maker, a builder, a librarian… but by night they transform into… Belfast Comedy Writers!

A group of local folk with diverse backgrounds have come together to help and support each other by meeting regularly to read each other’s scripts and give feedback. Belfast Comedy Writers is a brand new collective, formed only six months ago and they have already attracted the attention of TV producers, festival organisers and dozens of new and established comedy writers.

Whilst only a few weeks old, the group were asked by the organisers of the Belfast Comedy Festival to dream up a new show for them. So they did! The result is ‘Fetch-A-Sketch’. A new type of show for the festival, it will showcase sketches from 10 of the BCW members using a rehearsed reading format.

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“We chose the format of a rehearsed reading rather than a full on production because we want to focus on the writing and showcasing our members’ work, which is one of our main aims in forming the group,” said Laurence Doherty. “Sketches seemed to be the most popular format, in fact we have so many we could make this a regular event.”

With over 250 members finding material was a problem.

Clare Childs, co-founder along with Laurence and Vicky Blades, said “The upside is that finding volunteers to help stage the night has been relatively easy. We have 10 actors, three stage crew, a director, cameraman and more – it seems everyone is keen to help us hit the ground running. Or laughing!”

The next step for BCW is attending the NI Comedy Conference this month and thereafter the Belfast Media Festival in November. They have been approached to take part in panel discussion on the future of comedy in Northern Ireland, along with industry experts. In the meanwhile they continue in their quest to help members get their work commissioned by holding regular meetings where they invite guest speakers and provide a space to share information on training, funding, writing competitions and networking opportunities.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the interest and support we have received in our first six months,” says Vicky, “we’ve got some real momentum going and are excited about the future!”

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Fetch a Sketch takes place on Monday September 28 at 8pm on the Belfast Barge

Belfast Media Festival is from November 5-6 at The MAC.

For more information find BCW on Facebook at facebook.com/BelfastComedyWriters

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