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Students from ‘home of comedy studies’ showcase their work

Students from the degree course which produced comics such as Peter Kay will be demonstrating their perfect timing at a showcase event.

Final year students who have been working on the University of Salford’s degree in Comedy Writing and Performance – the first of its kind in the country – will show off their work at the event at MediaCityUK on Thursday 19 May.

The Mike Craig Comedy Award, named after the BBC scriptwriter and producer, will be given to the most promising comedy student.

Mike Craig wrote and produced more than 1,200 radio and television shows for performers including Morecambe and Wise, Ken Dodd and Les Dawson, which were donated to a special archive at the University following his death in 2010.

The event will also feature the launch of comedy lecturer Ian Angus Wilkie’s new book Performing in Comedy –a manual for comedy actors performing in everything from Shakespeare to TV sitcoms.

Wilkie, who has previously appeared in television on programmes such as Brookside and Crossroads, as well as in the ITV sitcom Barbara and cult puppet comedy Pets, joined the University earlier this year and is the latest tutor to have wide experience of working in the industry.

Visiting tutor Kiri Pritchard-McClean is gaining a reputation as the writer and director of sketch group Gein's Family Giftshop, appearing at this summer’s Latitude Festival and described by League of Gentlemen creator Reece Shearsmith as ‘exceptionally brilliant’.

Senior lecturer Richard Talbot works with the multi-award-winning performance company Ridiculusmus, which is set to go on a worldwide tour with their latest show next year, while course leader Lisa Moore is one of the few academics in the country who is both researching and performing in the area of female comedy writing and performance with an emphasis on stand up.

The University set up the first Stand Up Comedy module to be taught in higher education in England in 1992, teaching students about everything from farce and improvisation to using comedy as a political tool, and going on to produce such names as Peter Kay, Jason Manford and Steve Edge.

The Comedy degree programme itself has established an international reputation, and Salford academics have given masterclasses in Comedy, Media and Performance at Universities in Canada and the USA.

The event is being held as part of the University’s two-month Create Salford Festival, which showcases the achievements of students from the School of Arts and Media and celebrates the University’s close links with the media industry, featuring art and photography exhibitions, poetry readings, music concerts, and a fashion show at Hotel Football.

Frances Piper, Director of Performance and Film Studies at the University, said: “Comedy has been developing at Salford for the last 25 years as a ‘serious’ area for academic study, and the links that have been forged with industry colleagues such as BBC radio are testament to the University’s reputation as the home of Comedy Studies in the UK.

“We have already produced some household names in comedy and this event is an opportunity to be one of the first to see some of the comedy stars of the future.”

  • Date published: 17th May 2016

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