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Red Dwarf and Ab Fab director seeks new comedy writing talent for Edinburgh Fringe showcase

DLT Entertainment, co-sponsors of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, and Monkey Barrel Comedy, host of ‘Best Comedy Show’ in 2022 and 2023 have announced the launch of Table Reads: New Comedy Script Showcase ahead of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Table Reads offers a unique platform for budding and established comedy writers to have their scripts read and performed by some of the leading comedians at the Fringe, and directed by comedy legend Ed Bye, known for his work on some of the UK’s best loved comedy projects including Red Dwarf, Absolutely Fabulous, The Vicar of Dibley and The Young Ones.

The show promises more than just a performance, but a development project designed to foster new talent, workshop original writing, and build lasting relationships between emerging creatives.

Each day of the Fringe, one of four selected scripts will be brought to life by a cast of top comedians, after a brief warm-up by an MC, with 5-6 performers per show. This will provide creatives with a unique opportunity to gain real-time feedback on their work, as well as giving audiences a rare glimpse behind the TV development curtain, seeing some of the best new scriptwriting in UK comedy before channel commissioners do.

The show welcomes script submissions from anyone, although a particular effort is being made to seek out performers and writers living and or working in Scotland. Existing scripts can be submitted now.

The open submission process aims to discover and elevate new and diverse comedic voices, providing an unparalleled opportunity to showcase comedy writing in a leading venue at the world’s largest performing arts festival.

Director and producer Bye’s expertise and vision will be instrumental in bringing these new scripts to life, creating a must-see event for comedy enthusiasts and industry professionals alike. Additional support will be provided by DLT Entertainment’s experienced development team of Darren Smith, Jon Aird and Ben Walker.

Bonnie and Braw, an independent production company based in Edinburgh, will be heavily involved in delivery of the show, with producer and founder John McEwen-Whyte providing production support, further underlining the show’s commitment to utilising locally-based talent and expertise.

DLT Entertainment is committed to supporting this creative venture by absorbing all production costs. After covering third-party expenses, such as marketing, the remaining funds will be distributed among the cast and creatives, highlighting DLT’s dedication to nurturing talent and ensuring that creative contributions are adequately rewarded.

Donald Taffner Jr., president of DLT Entertainment, said: “We have been thinking of doing table reads at The Fringe for a number of years but needed the right partner. David Blease and Monkey Barrel Comedy are that partner, and we look forward to working with the talented comedians and writers and let the audience experience a fundamental step in the television development process.”

David Bleese of Monkey Barrel Comedy added: “We are incredibly excited to partner with DLT Entertainment for ‘Table Reads’. This show represents a significant opportunity for new and emerging writers to have their work seen and heard, and we’re delighted to bring such an exciting new project to the festival.”

Bye is a giant of UK comedy with directing credits on some of the nation’s best-loved sitcoms, frequent work with several members of The Comic Strip, including with Rik Mayall and Ade Edmonson on Bottom and Filthy Rich and Catflap and French and Saunders on Ab Fab, Girls on Top and Dibley, feature films including Kevin and Perry Go Large and The Fat Slags Movie, and comedy specials with the likes of Lenny Henry, Jasper Carrot and Eddie Izzard.

He also directed a 2013 Christmas special of Not Going Out, but given the rest of his CV we won’t hold that against him.

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