Saturday 31 August 2013

Sitcom Trials SYTYWF video

At last it's here, the video of the Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny final from the Edinburgh Fringe, highlights thereof. Enjoy.

Filmed by MB Productions, this is just a taste of the 5 sitcoms in the final on the night, with appearances from our MC Mark Dolan and the boss of the Gilded Balloon Karen Koren.

The 5 finalists in the 2013 Sitcom Trials Final are
Cast written by Peter Etherington 
None Of The Above written by and co-starring Lewis Cook 
Never Better written by and co-starring Rosie Holt 
Situation Normal written by and co-starring Naomi Carter 
Theatre written by Andrew Tate 

The (next) Sitcom Trials takes place at The Ring O' Bells, Bath, Nov 29 2013. 5 sitcoms go head to head, who wins? You decide. For details,follow this link.

Thursday 29 August 2013

Sitcom Trials Edinburgh 2013 - Producer's Notes

(Here we see Anna from the Bristol Sitcom Trials team taking a selfie with Steve Coogan in the exclusive VIP Loft Bar at the Gilded Balloon, honestly you can't take them anywhere)

I would like to personally thank and congratulate every single person involved in this year's Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny competition, which ran heats & semi finals in London, Manchester and Bristol and culminated in the Grand Final at the Edinburgh Fringe, won by Rosie Holt's Never Better which will be getting its own run at the Gilded Balloon in 2014.

In particular I must praise the unsung heroes who, in the whirlwind of Edinburgh, had hardly a mention. Vince Stadon, the producer and driving force behind the Bristol Sitcom Trials, is the person I need to thank most. If it wasn't for him asking if he could start up a Bristol team in 2012, after his script had won in Manchester in 2011, we wouldn't now have a regular series of shows running in Bristol, with a large dedicated team including writer-performers and an improv group, who have also recorded radio versions of their sitcoms which will be going out later this year, and who provided two of the five finalists in this year's tournament.

It was Vince's establishment and continued running of the Bristol show, that gave us the incentive for the Manchester shows to continue in the various hands of Lisa, Michelle, Sean and now Judgement Dave - remembering it was Lisa & Gareth in Manchester who revived the Sitcom Trials in 2011 - and then to reconvene the London Sitcom Trials, whose stalwarts Louisa, Sarit and Chris have helped bring about our most popular shows in years and without whom the semi finals would not have been possible. There are many others to thank, including guest hosts, video makers, and all our judges, too numerous to list here, many thanks to you all.

I feel a little sorry that the Manchester team and most of the London team weren't able to be involved in the Edinburgh final. What with it having no budget for the performers, everyone had to be there at their own expense, which meant it was worth it for the writer-performers, but that a lot of the show had to be cast from actors who were already in Edinburgh doing other shows. Sean's team from Manchester and Sarit & Louisa's from London were with us in spirit and I, at least, knew none of us would have been there without your efforts.

I have also to thank Karen Koren, the Artistic Director of The Gilded Balloon, who took a big gamble on associating The Sitcom Trials with the So You Think You're Funny Competition she's been running for twenty years, and whose organisation and production staff did the bulk of the work to make the Sitcom Trials SYTYWF Final happen and to run as smoothly as it did. Our future is in her hands, and we should all take very seriously any thoughts she has on how well we all did.

Which brings us to notes for the future. Should we carry on with the Sitcom Trials? The answer from all sides is a resounding yes. Though none of us makes any money out of it, there seems to be in inexorable flow of people wanting to take part in it so, as long as we can make it worth our individual whiles, then on it will go.

Should we run it as a tournament again next year? If we get the blessing and involvement of The Gilded Balloon and So You Think You're Funny again, then I say yes we should. If so, that series of shows will begin in the spring and follow a similar pattern to 2013, with heats in various cities and a final in Edinburgh.

The "various cities" bit is something that might develop in the coming months, as I have had talks with people from two cities who might be able to bring together actors enough to do further local events. If there's anyone out there who works with actors in a particular locale and think they'd like to try their hand at a Sitcom Trials event, do please get in touch.

Lessons learned from this year's Final. In future we need to keep cast sizes smaller and we need to perform better to the space we're in. In comparision to our sister show, Sketch Club, which performed the previous night in the same venue as part of the same competition but who used head-mounted radio mikes for all their performers, we suffered from chronic inaudibility. There was not a sitcom which didn't have at least one actor whose words were lost in that space, largely as a result of all our heats being held in much smaller rooms. Also having vast casts of 8 per script meant we had scripts which were a bit on the long side, and a backstage area that must have been like the Black Hole of Calcutta. (I relaxed the rules for entries this year, but in future I feel we should return to the strict 4-per-script casting that we established many years ago).

These are all small considerations, but worth making a note of now. And now we needn't think on them again until the spring of 2014 when, if it is going to happen, another tournament will be announced. Before then, I hope we're going to see Sitcom Trials stand-alone shows, full of brand new exciting situation comedies good enough to be put onto the radio and the telly, in at least three cities (and hopefully more) before Christmas.

Who's in?

Will we find the new Chickens? The new Nightingales? The new Birds Of A Feather? Let's find out.

Kev F
The Sitcom Trials

If you would like to create the next great British situation comedy, The Sitcom Trials is an opportunity for your sitcom to be seen live.

Details of new shows, and our ongoing competition, are to be found here at and on Twitter and Facebook.

See the Best of The Sitcom Trials videos, here.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Sitcom Trials SYTYWF Final Programme

The audience of the Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny final at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013 took away a programme with details of the show and its entrants. Here, for your pleasure, is a copy for you. Click to download the pdf (but beware, the front cover's quite a big file, the centre pages are much smaller).

Following a successful competition season in Manchester, Bristol and London and a Grand Final in Edinburgh, the Sitcom Trials will be continuing with brand new shows of fresh material in the Autumn. Keep watching here, Facebook and Twitter for news.

Friday 23 August 2013

Sitcom Trials SYTYWF 2013 - the winner is...

Photo ©2013 Steve Ullathrone

The first ever Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny final was held at the Gilded Balloon on the Edinburgh Fringe on Wednesday August 21st 2013. Five situation comedies, the finalists from 6 heats and two semi finals in Manchester, Bristol and London, competed head to head in a competition compered by Mark Dolan and produced by Sitcom Trials creator Kev F Sutherland.

And the winner is Rosie Holt (pictured above with her cast) the writer and star of the sitcom Never Better. Her prize is the offer a month long run of her developed sitcom as a show at the Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014. The Gilded Balloon will also be working with Rosie on the TV development of her sitcom.

The judges who chose the winner were Sanjeev Kohli (writer & star of Fags, Mags & Bags), Jemma Rodgers (producer of Vicious and How Not To Live Your Life), and Karen Koren (boss of the Gilded Balloon and creator of So You Think You're Funny).

The audience also voted as part of the show, choosing their favourite, the ending of which they were treated to (under the time-honoured Sitcom Trials format). The audience chose to see the ending of Cast by Peter Etherington, with Never Better coming second, and Situation Normal by Naomi Carter coming a close third.

The 5 sitcoms in the final were
Theatre by Andrew Tate
None Of The Above written by and co-starring Lewis Cook
Never Better written by and co-starring Rosie Holt
Situation Normal written by and co-starring Naomi Carter
Cast by Peter Etherington

Congratulations to all the writers, directors and performers who took part and who reached this stage of the competition. Stay tuned for news of The Sitcom Trials forthcoming shows and competitions and how budding writers and performers can become involved.

Sunday 18 August 2013

Mark Dolan to host Sitcom Trials & Sketch Club Finals

Mark Dolan to host the Big Finals

Mark Dolan is to host the finals of Sketch Club’s “Best New Sketch Act 2013″ and The Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Mark is best known for hosting Channel 4′s “Balls of Steel” and is also appearing in his own one man show at the Gilded Balloon this year.

Both of these comedy finals take place in the Gilded Balloon Teviot Wine Bar at 10pm  - Sketch Club on August 20th, and The Sitcom Trials on August 21st.


Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny Grand Final Aug 21st Edinburgh

For the first time, Edinburgh Fringe's legendary So You Think You're Funny? competition now includes sitcoms, presented as The Sitcom Trials - So You Think You Write Funny? Following heats and semi finals in Manchester, Bristol and London, the Grand Final takes place at the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh on Wednesday Aug 21st.

Five sitcoms have made it to the Final, from the 30 that were performed in the heats and the hundreds entered from around the country. Have we found the next Miranda? You decide. (Miranda, Hart that is, was the star of the very first Edinburgh Fringe Sitcom Trials at the Gilded Balloon back in 2001, see the video here).

The 5 finalists in the 2013 Sitcom Trials Final are
Cast written by Peter Etherington
None Of The Above written by and co-starring Lewis Cook
Never Better written by and co-starring Rosie Holt
Situation Normal written by and co-starring Naomi Carter
Theatre written by Andrew Tate

The 5 sitcoms compete head to head, with the audience voting for their favourite and only seeing the ending of the one they choose. Meanwhile a panel of judges, including the Gilded Balloon's Karen Koren, producer Jemma Rodgers, and Fags Mags & Bags creator Sanjeev Kohli, choose the ultimate winner. The final ia compered by Mark Dolan.

Tickets for the final are on sale now, and we would urge you to book them sooner rather than later as this is a one-off production at the Edinburgh Fringe so is bound to sellout.

The Sitcom Trials SYTYWF Final - 10pm, Weds August 21st at The Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe

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