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Bath Spa University students ‘pull the strings’ with lockdown laughter show

Working virtually can be tricky during these testing times, but students from @BathSpaUni have come up with a reason to be cheerful. Students from the BA (Hons) Film, Television and Digital Production degree course, in collaboration with performers from BA (Hons) Comedy, have created a new 30-minute comedy improvisation show titled ‘Pulling the Strings’.

As part of their Studio Production module, students Jonty Renk, Emily Hayter, Callum Hall, Caitlin Daly, Max Devine, Gaby Louise, Sam Edwards, Ayla Pengelly-Moore and Sarah Howden decided to think outside the box in a bid for belly laughs. They conceived, wrote, filmed and edited the whole show while working remotely and with social distancing measures in place.

The programme challenges the comedians’ acting and improvisation skills, pitting them against each other in a series of topically-themed comical conundrums, posed by host and comedian, Natasha Bye.

Despite being created as a ‘Plan B’ during lockdown, the show’s success is no laughing matter, because Pulling the Strings has just been accepted into this year’s Sparkfest.

Commending the group’s efforts, the students’ lecturer, award-winning television producer and director Simon Mansfield, said: “The programme shows tremendous initiative on the part of the students, who could see how television broadcasters have been responding to the current situation and felt they could produce something just as good. And they were right! What a compliment this is to their professionalism and creative drive.”

Supported by Pinewood Studios Group, the practice-based degree course in Film, Television and Digital Production equips students with the skills needed to excel in the industry. The collaboration with BA (Hons) Comedy has become a defining feature of work in Bath Spa’s state-of-the-art television studios over the past two years.

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