Norwich to get comedy writing course

Aspiring comedians have the chance to learn the skills of the trade from professional scriptwriters at a workshop in the city this summer.

Aspiring comedians have the chance to learn the skills of the trade from professional scriptwriters at a workshop in the city this summer.

During a weekend-long course at Norwich Theatre Royal students will work alone and in groups to write gags, sketches and develop comic characters.

And by the end of the second day each person will have written an outline for the pilot episode of their very own sitcom.

The event has been organised by Euroscript, which has run similar classes in London since 1995, and is hoping to branch out into holding regular events in Norwich.

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Tutors Paul Bassett Davies and Fenella Greenfield have between them written sketches for Jeremy Hardy, Spitting Image and Rory Bremner, and have experience in television drama and feature films.

Mr Bassett Davies said that as far as writing funny material goes, practice makes perfect.

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'There are so many people out there delivering lectures. The approach we take is we get you writing,' he said.

'What I've learned is it's like any other muscle. Like the muscles you use to ride a bike or go swimming.'

'The more you use them the better you become at writing comedy.'

No prior experience is necessary and the course is open to anyone willing to put in the hard work needed, said Mr Bassett Davies.

'What's important is that they're prepared to put in the commitment that it takes to become a writer, because it isn't easy.'

The Comedy Writing Weekend will run on Saturday June 5 and Sunday 6 from 10.30am to 5pm and tickets cost �150 or �135 for concessions.

For more information visit, email or call 07884 027171.

1. The best comedy ideas are simple: a very rude man runs a hotel. If you cannot describe your comedy idea in one short sentence, it is probably too complicated.

2. Sidekicks can make a sitcom a classic. Think of Fawlty Towers or Absolutely Fabulous. Now think of Basil without Manuel; Edina without Patsy.

3. If you aim for two targets you will miss both. If a sketch is about two politicians behaving like kids in a playground, do not try to make a statement about global warming as well.

4. Write a gag, then move on to the next one. Do not try to keep the first gag going, unless you can 'top' it (comedy geniuses only).

5. Timing is important in comedy. If the audience arrives for your stand-up show on Thursday and you show up on Friday, that is bad timing.

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