Lynne Parker

Lynne Parker

A year of living COVIDly

If anybody had told me a year ago what we would achieve against all the terrifying odds of COVID, successive lockdowns, dark venues and long periods of isolation for many of us, I would never have believed them! Yet, here we are now.

Tomorrow, registration opens for the 2021 Funny Women Awards and I couldn’t be prouder. We have all done great things over the last year: hundreds of new acts performed in the virtual space, wrote brilliant scripts, created imaginative and clever content and we even squeezed in a couple of live events between lockdowns and streamed them out to our larger wider community.

While I’m on this rollercoaster of pride, our other achievement is how accessible and even global Funny Women has become. We now have thriving chapters led by inspirational and dedicated volunteer regional producers in America, Australia, Singapore, Netherlands, Ireland and across the UK.  They are our new lifeblood and it’s totally fitting that we are encouraging entries from all around the world for this year’s Awards.

With our new world order combining online accessibility and the slow recovery back to live performances, we will be running this year’s Awards based on our experience of last year when we had no option but to focus everything in the virtual space and adapt as and when we could to produce some actual live comedy.

By contrast to the main broadcasters, we have limited resources so our productions still have a charming whiff of the impromptu comedy circuit temporarily left behind when our favourite venues had to close. Our Zooms have a friendly community feel and I will always remember how moved and excited we all were when we had our very first Comedy Workout on Zoom last April. 

After the first month in lockdown and the terrible uncertainty, I had worried about how we would survive, scrabbled around for bouncing bank loans and dealt with an unfathomable loss of income from box office and corporate work. So it was so great for me to see the support and love for what we were attempting to do by bringing people together in the virtual space.

The real reward is always the fantastic new talent that we see every year in the Funny Women Awards. We’ve nurtured a few of you over the last year on our Comedy Crash Courses and we are looking forward to seeing you take the next step with your entries. We’re all ahead of the game now on audition tapes and performing live comedy into the virtual void – but a heckle from a real audience member is infinitely preferable to a bit of random Zoom bombing and unwelcome body parts!

So, what are you waiting for?  Here’s all the details about this year’s Awards and we’ve spiced things up with a brand new Comedy Content Creator Award where you can vote for the funniest short-form content on a social media platform. Start by nominating your own content and then get everybody to vote for you – most nominations wins.

Register in the time honoured way for the prestigious Stage, Comedy Writing and Comedy Shorts Awards to put forward your films, scripts and reels, and we’ll be asking our panel of industry professionals to nominate a Comedy Writer for the special award we launched last year in partnership with Comedy 50:50. There will be prizes that money can’t buy and lots of opportunities for your work to be seen and appraised.

All that said, it’s really not about the winning – taking part is a way of honing your craft and getting noticed. We’re passionate about what we do at grass roots level and it’s never been more important than now to revitalise our industry and support performers, creators, producers, promoters and venues to get the laughter live again.

I can’t wait to see what the class of 2021 brings.

Good luck!

Registration for the 2021 Funny Women Awards opens tomorrow, Thursday 1st April 2021. For all the details and to register visit www.funnywomenawards.com

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