Gemma Whelan Helps Out in the Comedy Classroom

The BBC are encouraging high school students to try their hand at comedy writing, and TVO favourite Gemma Whelan has been offering advice.

Live Lesson

© BBC / Guy Levy

Are you a teacher wanting to bring some comedy into the classroom? Or a budding young comedian who’s keen to get some recognition?

Comedy Classroom is a brand new comedy writing competition from BBC Learning, in partnership with the National Literacy Trust and BBC Comedy. It’s open to students in Years 9 and 10 in England and Wales, Years 10 and 11 in Northern Ireland, and S3 and S4 in Scotland.

It’s possible to enter the competition until 24th July (so you’ve got just under two months to get stuck in!) and there are three different categories available:

Class Joker – Stand-up

Students must submit a written script for a short stand-up routine, along with a filmed recording of the performance.

Class Act – The Sketch

Students must submit a written script for a unique comedy sketch.

Class Comic – Clever Captions 

Students must submit funny one-liner captions for four images provided.

Winners in each category will have their written work made and broadcast by the BBC this autumn, and they’ll also get the chance to visit the BBC to see it filmed!

Live Lesson

© BBC / Guy Levy

The Comedy Classroom website is full of great resources to help teachers get their students ready to write comedy, including quotes from Katy Wix, no less. There are lesson plans, as well as a comedy glossary and toolbox to explain terms like satire, slapstick and spoof.

And this brings us to Gemma Whelan, who recently took to the stage in a Comedy Classroom Live Lesson to share her expertise and answer some questions about writing stand-up. She also performed a song with Isy Suttie entitled ‘Start Writing Comedy Now’ which you can watch here.

Gemma is currently on our screens as Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic and as Kate in Upstart Crow on BBC Two.

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