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Knock, knock! Who’s there? Literacy campaign launches comedy writing competition, inspired by famous Comedy Carpet
Get Blackpool Reading and the Blackpool Grand Theatre have developed an exciting initiative together to celebrate the resort’s brilliant sense of humour and get children giggling this summer.
The comedy writing competition for children aged 4-11 takes inspiration from the resort’s iconic Comedy Carpet landmark – a 2,200 square metre display of Britain’s best one-liners, found on Blackpool’s promenade. Children are encouraged to fill out a template replicate of the famous carpet with their favourite jokes and funnies shared with them by friends and family.
A selection of schools across the resort will receive a copy of the Comedy Carpet comedy writing resource before they close for the summer holidays. It will also be available to download for free from the campaign’s website (getblackpoolreading.org.uk) and Facebook page (facebook.com/getblackpoolreading), where schools and families can also go to find out how to enter the competition.
It comes as new National Literacy Trust research shows that half (48%) of children and young people have been inspired to read more funny books during lockdown. This builds on previous research from the charity which found that a third (32%) of 8 to 11-year-olds pick up funny books to read every month and a fifth (18%) write comedy in their free time. 
Get Blackpool Reading is a campaign led by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with Blackpool Council and Blackpool Opportunity Area, which launched in February to raise literacy levels across the town. Since lockdown began, the campaign has gifted more than 1,000 books to children and families to support them through the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak and to make reading a key part of their lives.
Get Blackpool Reading Campaign Manager, Laura Flinn said:
“We’re thrilled to be working alongside The Grand Theatre, Blackpool for this exciting competition.
“National Literacy Trust research has found that more children have been turning to funny books during lockdown, and that writing comedy resonates well with children who tend to be less engaged with literacy. We want to hone in on that passion and encourage the children of Blackpool to find the funny in literacy over the summer holidays. We can’t wait to have a chuckle at your entries!”
Steve Royle, Blackpool-based Comedy Performer and Writer, said:
“As part of the Blackpool Grand Theatre family I’m delighted to support the Get Blackpool Reading’s comedy writing competition. Blackpool is a town steeped in comedic history, and it’s a pleasure to help find the resort’s next big comic voice.
“I hope children across the town enjoy taking part in the activity and having a laugh with the people around them this summer!”
Celine Wyatt, Head of Creative Learning at Blackpool Grand Theatre, said:
“The Grand Theatre loves it when families, friends and our local community feel uplifted by a visit to our friendly theatre to laugh out loud at our panto, our comedians and all the wonderful comedy plays on our stage and in our studio. We are proud partners in this comedy writing project and can’t wait to have our own laugh out loud moments when we see all the jokes and share them in our very first digital joke book. Get Blackpool Reading and Get Blackpool laughing.”
The competition is open to children aged 4-11 and will close on Friday 4 September 2020. Competition entries will be judged by representatives from Get Blackpool Reading and The Grand Theatre, Blackpool during the autumn term. The winning submissions will be included in a digital joke book, collated by The Grand Theatre, Blackpool, and entered into a prize draw to win a bundle of books and vouchers to buy tickets for a family theatre show.
Find out more about Get Blackpool Reading and how to enter the comedy writing competition by visiting getblackpoolreading.org.uk.
Notes to editors
For further information or to request a spokesperson interview, please contact: Laura Flinn, Get Blackpool Reading Campaign Manager at the National Literacy Trust on 020 7820 6278 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
To discuss the project with Blackpool Grand Theatre contact email@example.com
About Get Blackpool Reading
Get Blackpool Reading is a community-driven campaign led by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with Blackpool Council and the Blackpool Opportunity Area. It works with local partners, schools and businesses to promote reading for pleasure among children and families and gives them the skills they need to succeed through life.
About the National Literacy Trust
Our charity is dedicated to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of those who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life. We run Literacy Hubs and campaigns in communities where low levels of literacy and social mobility are seriously impacting people’s lives. We support schools and early years settings to deliver outstanding literacy provision, and we campaign to make literacy a priority for politicians, businesses and parents. Our research and analysis make us the leading authority on literacy and drive our interventions. Literacy is a vital element of action against poverty and our work changes children’s life stories.
Visit literacytrust.org.uk to find out more, donate or sign up for our free email newsletter. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944. Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.
About the Blackpool Opportunity Area
Blackpool is one of 12 Opportunity Areas set up by the Department for Education to improve education standards and help children to reach their full potential.
The programme includes three priority focused areas including raising attainment in Blackpool’s schools, supporting vulnerable children to stay in mainstream education, and improving advice, support and aspiration for young people when considering career paths, moving into work or further education. Now in its fourth year of funding, the programme will run until August 2021. Visit blackpoolopportunityarea.co.uk to find out more.
About Blackpool Grand Theatre
The Grand Theatre was opened on July 23, 1894 by Thomas Sergenson who immediately dubbed the theatre ‘Matcham’s Masterpiece’. This title is even more merited now that there are few surviving examples of the work of Frank Matcham, the leading Victorian theatre architect. The theatre took just nine months to build and cost Sergenson £20,000. In July 2014 the Arts Council England granted the Grand Theatre funding to support and develop a programme of dance and physical theatre. The Arts Council’s National Portfolio Organisations represent some of the best arts practice in the world, and they play a vital role in helping ACE meet their mission of great art and culture for everyone. ACE are determined to fund organisations at a level at which they can continue to produce the excellent and innovative art that audiences want and deserve. Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. They support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspire us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. www.artscouncil.org.uk
 National Literacy Trust (2020) Children and young people’s reading in 2020 before and during the COVID-19 lockdown
 National Literacy Trust (2016) Children’s and Young People’s Reading and Writing of Comedy in 2015
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