British Comedy Guide
Tiwa Lade.

Tiwa Lade awarded Felix Dexter Bursary

Comedy writer Tiwa Lade has been awarded the 2021 Felix Dexter Bursary.

The six-month bursary, run by the BBC Comedy Association, is awarded to aspiring comedy writers, with the aim of making a positive intervention to address an under-representation of black, Asian and ethnic minority professionals in comedy production in broadcasting.

Now in its fourth year, the scheme is designed to find writers with a fresh, unique point of view and the potential to help shape the future of comedy. It is open to black, Asian and other ethnic minority writers or writing duos who are aged 18 or over.

The BBC explains: "Tiwa continued to write after graduating from Drama School. Her plays Rush and Everyday were put on for rehearsed readings in theatres in New York, Lagos and London receiving critical acclaim. As she continues to create stories, Tiwa is particularly excited about work that puts Black people in the forefront with complex and well-rounded characters. She will be based in BBC offices across the UK whilst on the bursary."

Lade says: "I started writing my first play, Rush, six years ago; from gathering friends to read excerpts in a café, to research and development and eventually short but memorable runs in theatres. I am so happy and excited to start working as a writer with the BBC on other projects, it's a dream come true! Someone, anyone pinch me!" 

The first Felix Dexter Bursary was launched in 2017 after Paul Whitehouse (Trustee of the Felix Dexter Foundation) and BBC Comedy agreed that supporting and encouraging writers from an ethnic minority background would be a fitting tribute to the late comedy actor and writer, who featured in iconic BBC comedies including The Fast Show and The Real McCoy.

On a practical level, the bursary gives up-and-coming talent the chance to make comedy writing their main focus for six months, while immersed in comedy production. They hone their skills while gaining experience on a range of BBC comedies across radio, TV and online, on panel shows, shorts, sitcoms or comedy entertainment shows. The programme offers the writers the support they need to take the next step in their career.

Tanya Qureshi, head of BBC Comedy, says: "We are delighted to be welcoming Tiwa into the BBC Comedy team and working with her towards the next step in her career. The Felix Dexter Bursary remains incredibly important and precious to BBC Comedy. We are so pleased to be able to fund a placement which affords new comedy writers from minority backgrounds the time out to fully focus on further developing their craft. Finding and nurturing new talent, on and off screen, is a vital part of what we do."

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