Tag Archives: Happy Hour

Happy Hour live sketch show gets an outing later this month!

Wed 21 June 2017

We may have been a bit quiet of late, but that’s because we’ve been beavering away on our upcoming September production of Wise Men Say / Cornered – which followers of Cranked Anvil will already know is a double-bill of one-act plays based around Sunderland AFC.

The posters and flyers have been printed and delivered, and soon you’ll see them going up around Sunderland, Washington, Durham, and South London.

We’re also planning to confirm some casting news in the very near future, which we’re very pleased about, as well as an exciting event which we’re putting together as an added extra to some of the performances.  Stay tuned to this website – and keep an eye on local press – for details as they emerge.

But if all this wasn’t enough to keep us busy over the next three months, we’re also taking part in a Scratch Night next Thursday 29th June, at The Exchange in North Shields.

A recent Scratch Night at The Exchange

It’s organised by Christopher Strain, a great actor who has worked with us on projects in the past, and will feature a line up of short plays and extracts from longer plays, as well as a good dose of music.  Cranked Anvil will be supplying the comedy!  We’ll be performing a few sketches from our Happy Hour show, and we’re very excited to try them out in a live performance format.

As soon as there are details and information on how to get tickets, we will post them on our productions page. Hope to see you there!

A recent performance

Other performances on the bill that night:

“For Voices” by Louise Taylor
A short play exploring relationships and the stories we tell ourselves.
Louise has previously had work performed at Live Theatre and ARC. She is a member of the ARCADE writers development group.

“Rainbow” by Elisabeth Thompson
An extract from Elisabeth’s new film script about a man who deliberately estranged himself from his

drug-addicted son ten years ago. Due to a Restorative Justice meeting, he has a chance to reconcile with him, but will guilt, grief and mistrust prevent this?

“Deadline Day” by John Hickman
When taxi driver Trevor has to drive Newcastle United’s new superstar striker and his hard headed agent down to London for transfer talks with another club dreams of the beautiful game collide with the big spending reality of the modern football. John has previously won the BAFTA Rocliffe competition and been commissioned by BBC Drama.

Delighted to support the young writers of the North East

Fri 20 Jan 2017

At the end of a busy week back in the Cranked Anvil production office, we’re delighted to announce an exciting collaboration which we’ve just sorted out today.

As part of our Happy Hour LIVE project over the next three months, we’re delighted to be working with New Writing North and Cuckoo Young Writers, to offer eight 16-23 year old aspiring writers and journalists a residency scheme with Cranked Anvil. 

The young participants will get the opportunity to attend a workshop/rehearsal with the cast of Happy Hour, attend all three live performances which they will review for Cuckoo Review, and even get the chance to attend a masterclass in writing comedy for radio which will lead to their sketches being rehearsed and performed by the cast.  A truly exciting opportunity for any young person interested in writing.

If you’re aged between 16-23 and based in the North of England, you can apply to be a part of this residency scheme.  Take a look at the Cuckoo website here.

Cuckoo Writers



What is Cuckoo Young Writers?
Cuckoo Young Writers is the name of New Writing North‘s young peoples’ programme. It aims to provide year-round provision and opportunities for young writers in the North of England, through writing groups, projects, online support and its publications Cuckoo Chronicle, Cuckoo Review and Cuckoo Press. It ensures young people in the region have access to and support from professional writers.  All of Cuckoo Young Writers’ work is free, accessible and inclusive.
text taken from the Cuckoo Young Writers website

New Year – New projects!

Sun 8 Jan 2017

If you’re a follower of Cranked Anvil – or just a regular visitor to this site – you’ll know that we’re not one to rest on our laurels.  We’ve already got a couple of big projects lined up for 2017 which we’re very excited about.

One of them we’re keeping under our hat for a little while longer – but we’ll be letting you know about it soon, and we’re sure it’ll get you excited if you’re a supporter of Sunderland AFC, or the Sunderland City of Culture bid, or just great theatre. (Or all three!)

But next on our production board is a very exciting project for us.  In February, March, and April, we’ll be performing live versions of our radio comedy show Paul & Nessa’s Happy Hour.  They’ll be recorded in front of a live studio audience, then edited for broadcast on Beach Hut Radio later in the year.  We’ve got three fantastic shows lined up, with brilliant material by our team of writers, performed by a stellar cast of actors and comedians. You can read more here.

But we need your help!

With budgets extremely tight, and funding virtually impossible to achieve, we’re trying to raise some of the capital needed to produce the three shows with the help of our supporters, fans, and friends.  We have a Crowdfunder page set up, where people can donate as much as they can to help bring this exciting new project to life.  Now, we realise Christmas and New Year have just gone by and people are reeling from the excesses of that and have just gone back to work, but we really do appreciate every donation possible.  We’ve already had some in from our supporters, and now we need to build on that. So please have a look at our Crowdfunder page, read more about the project, and go ahead and click that ‘Fund It’ button.

We have huge ambitions for this show.  We’re already planning to produce more radio shows, more studio audience shows, as well as a stage version for the Edinburgh Fringe.  As well as that, we’re currently developing ideas with a brilliant producer who works at Metro Radio and Diagonal View.  So there are big plans ahead for Happy Hour; here’s your chance to help it hit the ground running.  We never forget our grassroots supporters!

Finally – a new Happy Hour!

Thursday 24 March 2016

It’s been a bit of a while, as it’s been so busy at Cranked Anvil recently, but we’ve finally managed to put a new episode of Paul & Nessa’s Happy Hour on line.

It’s show number 28, which was first broadcast live last month on 17 Feb.  There’ll be more to come soon, as we catch up with our output, but for now you can listen to us talking about ostrich brains, bad job interview tips, and farting – yes, farting – on our Happy Hour page.


Our Halloween LIVE special!

Friday 30 October 2015

Just in time for Halloween tomorrow, we’ve got a treat for all you spook fans!

If you didn’t get a chance to hear our radio show, Paul & Nessa’s Happy Hour, live on Wednesday night, now’s your chance to listen back to the best bits.  We’ve just put it up on line, and we’re very proud of the whole show.

And why? I hear you ask…  Well, the whole thing was broadcast completely live – even the sketches.  Where as usually in the Happy Hour shows half of the material is pre-recorded, this week we decided to scare even ourselves by doing the whole thing completely live and pretty much unrehearsed!  It’s still got all the crazy ingredients of a Happy Hour show – it just sounds even more rough around the edges than usual.  But still, we think, very funny, and well worth a listen.

We have to say a big thanks to the writers who came up with specially written sketches so qucikly – Tim Gambrell, Michael Hughes, Neil Tolfree, and John Wardle.  And a special thanks to our actor-in-chief and head honcho voice man, David Foster, for coming into the studio live with us and performing in all the sketches.  (As well as playing along with the game, Count-Dracula-Down!)

Listen here, enjoy – and please share!

2016 Season

Fri 23 Oct 2015

Well, now that our weekly comedy radio show, Paul & Nessa’s Happy Hour, is well underway, we’ve been able to concentrate on other projects.

We’re currently finalising plans for our 2016 season, which we’re very excited about!  There’s a lot of stuff which, for now, needs to remain a secret, but as soon as things are confirmed we’ll be making our announcements – and we guarantee you’ll be as excited as us!

One thing we can announce now is that next January will see the return of our popular Rehearsed Reading Night.  This will be the 4th one we’ve put on, and we’re delighted that once again the Marine in South Shields will be the venue (this time under different hosts!)

You can find all the info on the RRN IV page – which we’ll be adding to as and when we confirm writers, directors and performers.  If you’re a writer you’ll also see that we’re now open for submissions for this – follow the links to our submissions page to find out more.

New Radio Show Coming Soon!

Spark logoMonday 20th July 2015

We’re delighted to confirm that, alongside Jay Sykes Media as our producer, from next week Cranked Anvil will be putting together a weekly radio show and podcast.

The first show airs on local radio station Spark Sunderland, at 3pm on Tuesday 28th July 2015.  If you don’t live in Sunderland then don’t worry, you can listen to it live across the internet at sparksunderland.com.

Presented by Paul Dunn and Vanessa Karon, it’s going by the title ‘Paul and Nessa’s Happy Hour’ and, as well as featuring some great music, it will be mainly comedy based, with lively chat and banter, songs, and sketches.

And we’re looking for comedy writers to contribute to the program.  We’ve already had some brilliant sketches submitted by writers from across the country, including Tim Gambrell And Matt Watson, which you will be able to hear in the show and podcast over the coming weeks.  But we’re keen to receive more!

If you’re a comedy writer and you’d like to hear your sketches performed on radio and around the world online, then have a look at the details here, and send us some of your stuff.

In the meantime, tune in next Tuesday, and help us to launch the first ever Happy Hour!