Hit comedy writer to share tips and mistakes from 30 year career

Jan Etherington, pictured with Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam Picture: MATT STRONGE

Jan Etherington, pictured with Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam Picture: MATT STRONGE - Credit: Archant

An award-winning Suffolk comedy writer with a string of successful TV and radio shows to her name is to share the tricks of her trade at a weekend workshop.

Jan Etherington, who lives in Walberswick, had taught comedy courses in London for 10 years, but October’s event at The Cut in Halesworth will be the first in Suffolk.

Ms Etherington said the course will share some of the mistakes she has made during her 30 year career, much of which has been spent in a writing partnership with her husband Gavin Petrie.

While the couple have gone on to pen a number of award-winning productions including Next of Kin, The change and Duck Patrol, in the early days she acknowledged “I knew very little about the art of comedy writing”.

“One of the joys, since then, is helping others avoid those mistakes and holding comedy writing courses, to mentor new – and established – writers, looking for guidance,” she added.

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“Thus, my courses are for everyone who loves comedy – whether you are a professional writer,seeking to extend your range; simply have an interest in comedy and want to learn more; or maybe you are trying to make the break into full time writing and want to test the ground to see if comedy is for you.”

Talks will included subjects such as “Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Out” and Character and Dialogue - Two Vital Ingredients in the Comedy Recipe.”

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There will also be comedy exercises, a caption competition and a chance to pair up and share ideas with a partner.

On the second day, participants will take part in a script workshop, followed by a chance to discuss each others work.

Meanwhile, Ms Etherington is also working on a follow-up to her hit radio show Conversations From a Long Marriage.

The show, which first broadcast on BBC Radio Four on New Year’s Day starred Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam whose roles sought to challenge stereotypical “babyboomer” portrayals of ageing couples.

Ms Etherington’s course is set to take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, as part of the Ink Festival, which features short plays, poetry performances and a series of talks and workshops.

Visit inkfestival.org/workshops/ for more information and to buy tickets.

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