News Revue

News Revue is a topical satire stage show at the Canal Cafe Theatre in Little Venice, London. Being topical and running 50 or so weeks a year they have a constant demand for sketches. And an open door submission policy.

And, even better, they pay all the writers whose work they use a profit share based on the amount of material used in each show.

The weekly rhythym of the show starts with rehearsals from Tuesday to Thursday (Thursday includes a dress rehearsal and tech).  Then the show itself every night from Thursday night through Sunday night. That means that the best time to submit new material is probably Monday and Tuesday as that means it will be as topical as possible but will still allow the cast a chance to get to grips with it before the Thursday.But from my experience, the funniness (or otherwise) of what you send will always be more important that when you send it.

The show runs almost year round with only a short break over Christmas. In summer they take a “best of” to the Edinburgh Festival. And at Christmas they have a mini “best of” in the few weeks before the Christmas holiday period.

The cast and director change every six weeks as well so the show is always fresh. It does mean some runs are less polished than others but that only makes it more  energetic  and interesting.

Despite the constant churn of talent the show does have it’s own style. Sketches tend to be short. Songs are generally cut down versions, which very definitely parody the “hook” – the bit of the song every knows, eg “Downtown” became “Downton” (whoever wrote that, it’s genius!).

They also use the freedom of the stage compared to radio or TV to do much darker material. It’s often close to the line, and sometimes over it. Making bad taste material work is difficult, and they almost always get it right. Not all the time – but you can learn a lot from watching the occasional failure. And you have to respect them for taking the risk.

News Revue is a great place to start actually seeing your work performed, and to get the warm feeling that only comes from someone being willing to actually pay cold hard cash for your words. You shouln’t write  for them expecting either fame or fortune. But they are great people to work with. There are usually writers meetings once or twice a year. And writing funny regularly, and seeing it performed, can only be good for you as a comedy writer.

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3 Comments on "News Revue"

  1. Garry Lee
    29/11/2011 at 5:17 pm Permalink

    Thanks for the insight into how the show works, I feel a bit more confident about submitting a few ideas now.

    P.S. Your subscribe button in the top-right isn’t working properly. It’d help to activate the subscriptions options in WordPress Jetpack so people can follow your blog by e-mail, if you have access to it.

  2. david
    01/12/2011 at 9:15 pm Permalink

    Thanks for the comment Gary. Do submit to NR. But don’t be disappointed if it disappears into a big black hole for a while. Keep at it. Once you get your first bit of material used you’ll be on the mailing list.

    The site is still very much a work in progress. I will get on the linking up the subscibe button properly asap.

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