1st October 2020


South of the River and SISTER announced today SCREENSHOT, a bold new competition designed to create essential opportunities for emerging comedy writer performersto showcase their work following a summer of cultural lockdown.Funded by South of the River and SISTER the scheme will provide successful applicants with the opportunity to develop their original idea from stage to screen.

Acknowledging the interconnectedness of UK TV and theatre, South of the River and SISTER are thrilled to appoint Competition Producer Debo Adebayo, who brings strong creative instincts and experience in UK theatre, together with a proven track record of advocating for inclusion.

Longlisted candidates will be invited to present their projects to a judging panel comprised of acclaimed writer/ performers, Lolly Adefope (Ghosts, Shrill) Rosie Jones (Live at the Apollo and Sex Education S3)and Phoebe Waller – Bridge (Killing Eve, Fleabag) whose extraordinary careers have all been built on the foundations of self-penned, solo stage shows. The trio line-up alongside inspirational industry experts including comedy dignitaries Olivia Colman (The Favourite, Peep Show) BBC Head of Comedy Kate Daughton (Fleabag, Alma’s Not Normal, Man Like Mobeen), Channel 4 Head of Comedy Fiona McDermott (Steth Lets Flats, Derry Girls, Maxxx) and Sky Commissioning Editor Tilusha Ghelani (Breeders, Urban Myths, Bloods) and representatives from South of the River and SISTER.

At least one candidate will receive a script commission to work with either or both development teams at South of the River and SISTER to advance and hone their project for the small screen.

Shortlisted candidates will also receive a contribution towards the development or budget of their next live theatrical show.

The competition, a direct response to the impact Covid-19 has had on the performing arts is open to applications from UK-based comedy writer-performers who already have a theatre project developed or semi-developed, and have not previously had an original project produced for television, film or streaming service. Applicants interested in developing that project for screen will be invited to provide a 5-minute video showcasing their project, together with a written personal statement.

To enter for full application criteria please view our website: www.southoftheriverpictures.com/screenshot

South of the River: Ed Sinclair and Olivia Colman say: “We’re passionate about live storytelling and know there’s nothing quite like it - Ed and I met doing a play that we took to Edinburgh! But we’re delighted to be able to offer a new outlet for the thwarted creative energies of our brilliant writer-performers and look forward to discovering and supporting some amazing new talent.”

SISTER: Executive Producer Naomi de Pear says: “We hope this scheme, in some small way, can be an outlet for some of the incredible talent that has had opportunities snatched away this year. So if you’re currently driving your flatmates/partner/mother/ grandad/ kids potty with your one-person show this is the place for you. It’s the spirit of live comedy and theatre and the intensity of writer-performer driven work that makes it so special so don’t hold back.”

Lolly, Rosie and Phoebe say: "We literally wouldn't have careers if theatres and performance spaces had shut down when we were starting out. So we're delighted to be a part of this initiative and to offer our fellow writer performers somewhere to direct their brilliance. We can't wait to see some of the results!”

Debo Adebayo says: “I cannot wait to get going with this exciting new scheme. It’s been a difficult and disappointing Spring and Summer for many artists but Screenshot will provide a magnificent opportunity in television during a time of so much uncertainty in theatre. It’s to South of The River and Sister’s credit to have come up with this unique offer. I look forward to finding talented, diverse performer-playwrights. Get those applications in!’

Kate Daughton, Fiona McDermott and Tilusha Ghelani say: “We will all be out of a job if writer performers aren’t able to showcase material that we can all fight to commission, so collectively - and competitively- we’re all elated to support this great opportunity”


South of the River Pictures was set up in November 2019 by Oscar-winner Olivia Colman and screenwriter Ed Sinclair to produce striking and original scripted comedy and drama with an authored, indie sensibility. South of the River want to find unique and fresh narratives that have something to say about the world we live in and believe that must involve discovering and supporting under-represented and previously unheard voices. Sinclair’s first screenplay, Landscapers, a four-part true-crime drama starring Colman is a SISTER production for HBO and Sky, in association with South of the River.


SISTER was co-founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, Stacey Snider and Jane Featherstone to develop, produce and invest in visionary storytellers. SISTER builds upon Featherstone’s Emmy Award-winning scripted indie, Sister Pictures, as a new global entity with offices in London and LA. It unites the expertise of the founders alongside a team of renowned creatives to make breakout stories for multiple platforms. Adding to the success of a slate of hit shows including Chernobyl (Sky/HBO) and Giri/Haji (BBC/ Netflix), and distinctive, genre-bending narrative comedies such as Will Sharpe’s Flowers (Channel 4), The Bisexual (Channel 4) and Don’t Forget The Driver (BBC2), SISTER is currently producing adaptations of Naomi Alderman’s literary phenomenon The Power for Amazon Studios and Adam Kay’s international bestseller, This is Going to Hurt for BBC and AMC. Additionally, SISTER is making Landscapers for Sky and HBO in association with South of the River Pictures, The Jungle Prince of Delhi for Amazon Studios, The Following Events Are Based On A Pack Of Lies by Penelope Skinner and Ginny Skinner (BBC One), and the bold comedy-horror series The Baby (HBO/Sky Atlantic) from first-time screenwriter Sian Robins-Grace. SISTER also has the rights to adapt Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club pick Deacon King Kong by James McBride. SISTER has made investments in new creator-led businesses including The Springhill Company, founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, Campside Media, a podcast studio, and AWA Studios, a comic book and digital media publisher.

ABOUT Debo Adebayo

Debo Adebayo is a theatre producer, marketing consultant and music publisher. He is currently Lead Producer for touring theatre company, Tamasha, having previously been its Developing Artist Producer and Marketing Manager. Until spring 2020 he was the Communications Director for Tangle Theatre Company. He has also worked with theatre companies such as Nitrobeat (formerly Nitro/The Black Theatre Co-Operative), The Red Room, Talawa, Utopia Theatre and Collective Artistes as an independent marketing consultant and producer. He collaborates regularly with playwright Mojisola Adebayo as producer and sound designer/music supervisor.