The Female Pilot Club has announced the writers to benefit from their unique Test Flight Scheme Plus.
They are Athena Kugblenu, Laura Evelyn, Rachel Clark, Sylvia Okyere & Zara Janjua.
The scheme was set up to help brilliant newer writers with barriers to inclusion connect with more experienced peers, to work on their winning script. Two of the scripts will then get an online read in front of industry professionals.
Female Pilot Club is supported in this scheme by Comedy 50:50 and the ScreenSkills Mentoring Network which is supported by the BFI, awarding National Lotteryfunds as part of its Future Film Skills strategy.
The five talented writers will be mentored by experienced industry figures with a track record in making TV. The mentors include writers, directors, agents and script editors: Annie Griffin (The Festival), Frog Stone (Bucket), Amy Schindler (Mystic), Julia Kent (Class Dismissed), and Roz Kidd.
The Female Pilot Club first launched in summer 2019, in association with Comedy 50:50, staging public read-throughs of brand-new comedy pilots, all written by women. After four sell-out shows at the Museum of Comedy in London starring some of Britain’s best and brightest comedy actors – including Tracy-Ann Oberman, Robert Webb, Kerry Howard, Tom Britney, Sindhu Vee, Lucy Porter and Jordan Stephens, the pilots were grounded by Covid 19.
Radio and TV comedy writer and club founder Kay Stonham explains, “So we looked at other ways to achieve our aims – to amplify female comedy writers’ voices and help get great female-written comedies on telly where they belong.”
“We were lucky enough to have incredible scripts to share live from some very experienced writers like Emmy award-winning Georgia Pritchett, who wrote for Veep and Succession, and Janice Hallett, whose novel ‘The Appeal’ was the Sunday Times Crime Book of the Month in January.
“We’ve also received hilarious scripts from brand new writers,” says co-founder Abigail Burdess “We decided to use lockdown to help these brilliant newer writers connect with more experienced peers, to develop their work.”
Emily Chase, an actor who helps run the Female Pilot Club, and cast many of the big names in their shows adds “We went back to the reason the club was set up in the first place. A report from the Writers’ Guild revealed only about one in ten sitcoms written in the decade up to 2016 had a woman credited.” We’ve got this incredible wealth of talent. How do we stop it going to waste?”
Kay Stonham, creator of Radio 4’s ‘Bad Salsa’ explains ‘We realised we had a chance to do a unique mentoring scheme – one which is extremely focussed and practical. We got in touch with ScreenSkills for some advice and they have helped us test a mentoring scheme plus – a Spring Test Flight.
Will the club be back live after lock-down?“ “Oh yes!” says Kay, “We’ll be back – we hope with some scripts which are even better than they would otherwise have been. If you want to find out more about our test pilot scheme or be first to hear about our new shows you can visit our website www.femalepilotclub.co.uk or follow us on Twitter @femalepilotclub