FEATURE: Getting To Know…The Grin Up North All Stars | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Comedy sketches have been the cornerstone that has made Grin Up North such a hit on BBC Newcastle. The comedy radio show takes over Newcastle Labour Club on Thursday 28th February, doing it all live after a hugely successful show at The Customs House last year. The show, presented by Steffen Peddie and produced by Steve Drayton has given a platform for some immensely funny folk and the live show also features stand-up from Louise Young, Anja Atkinson and Si Beckwith.

Set to be a showcase for a selection of the North East’s talented comedy writers and performers the show has supported this funny bunch well over the last six months, and we asked some of them:

What does Grin Up North mean to you?

Sarah Hayton
I’m from Teesside. There are few opportunities in Teesside for comedy writers. It feels hugely neglected, like we don’t count as part of the country. I’ve been writing sketches for years but it has mostly been on my own with no idea what to do with them. I have never felt so lucky as to be in a room FULL of writers coming up with funny ideas and working things through together.
Hearing the voices of other comic writers helps bring my skills on, helps me to think creatively, works my comedy muscles. Most importantly, it helps me feel less isolated as a writer. I never would have believed I would get to share a working space with professionals like Steve Drayton and Steffen Peddie, who are happy to share their knowledge and encouragement.
I have found Grin Up North hugely valuable because it gives me the opportunity to write regularly, learn and hone what I write. It has enabled me to meet and write with others for the first time.
Also, I have been lucky enough to hear my writing and voice on the show.
I cannot state strongly enough just how much this opportunity means to me.

Dean Moore
Well, as an adult male, proud father, dog owner and friend of Pato Banton, Grin Up North has helped me grow as a person (not in height, just confidence) and understand that it’s okay to be a bit different and silly.

Hannah Sowerby
It’s meant that since graduating from university, which is always a daunting time, I’ve had a wonderful project to regularly take part in that’s kept me motivated, inspired and excited about writing and performing comedy. 

Jack Johnson
It’s been amazing to be able to come together with like-minded comedy fans and create 100% original material, especially based in and around the North East. I feel the people in the North East have a very specific sense of humour and we like to be the butt of our own jokes sometimes which makes Grin all the more better. On a personal note it’s been a privilege to flex my sketch writing and performing muscles with some amazing local talent. Sometimes I forget we’re actually creating a show when it feels like we’re just a group of mates having a laugh and making silly characters together!!

David Foster
It allowed me to be creative and show off, without showing much of me!

Jamie McLeish
For me it’s been a fantastic opportunity to meet some really talented and lovely people and also to learn how to trim the fat from my sketches and write appropriately for a specific demographic.

Paul Dunn
Being part of the Grin Up North team has genuinely been a dream come true. I’ve always loved sketch comedy (Python was the first influence); when I lived in London I performed in a sketch group which we took to Edinburgh, and when I moved back to the North East I co-wrote and co-presented a sketch show on Sunderland’s Spark radio: Paul & Nessa’s Happy Hour. Writing and performing sketch comedy on the BBC every week, with such a talented group of people, is for me one of those ‘bucket list: tick’ achievements.

Vanessa Karon
I’ve always known that lurking somewhere inside me was a dirty, pervy little old lady called Edna, and Grin Up North has helped me to bring her to life. Also, I get to drink free BBC tea in the writers’ room and laugh at people’s brilliant comedy every week, so, you know, that’s nice.

The Grin Up North Live Show is at Newcastle Labour Club on Thursday 28th February. A limited amount of free tickets are available via grinupnorth@bbc.co.uk.

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