Melbourne sketch comedy trio Aunty Donna has returned from sell out shows overseas to a comedy pilot on ABC iView, launched last week and news that they will share funding for a 10-part YouTube web series.
Following a sold out season at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival earlier this year, Aunty Donna – Ballarat drama school friends Broden Kelly, Zachary Ruane and Mark Samual Bonanno – followed suit in the UK last month, selling out their run at London’s Soho Theatre and adding an extra show before travelling to their second Edinburgh Festival Fringe, once again adding an extra show after 12 sell out performances.
Aunty Donna also made their BBC debut while in the UK, performing live on BBC Radio 4, the breeding ground for Flight of the Conchords and The Mighty Boosh.
Now back in Australia the troupe’s brand new comedy pilot will air on online portal ABC iView from today as part of its Fresh Blood series, an initiative between ABC TV and Screen Australia which will see one of five pilots commissioned to produce their own ABC iView series.
The trio has teamed up with producer Nel Minchin from award-winning production company In Films to make the half-hour ABC TV pilot, a narrative-to-sketch series that follows the fantastic and surreal lives of sketch troupe Aunty Donna. Rocked by the sudden departure of their most popular member, the leftover duds must prove to their agent, their fans and themselves that they can make it as a trio. The series also stars Logie winner Miranda Tapsell, comedian Dave Thornton and comedy great Sally Anne Upton.
Late last week Aunty Donna was also announced as one of five recipients of funding to make a 10-part sketch series for YouTube under the Google and Screen Australia Skip Ahead initiative. Skip Ahead provides both funding and production resources to create unique online content and engage new audiences around the world, including the opportunity to work at the YouTube Space in Los Angeles in November.
Aunty Donna will deliver 1999, an absurdist sketch web series of 10 x 3-5 minute episodes, also produced by In Film’s Nel Minchin. It loosely follows a professional business in the lead up to New Year’s Eve 2000, as the employees prepare for the dreaded and unfathomable Y2K.
The series will be online later this year. Aunty Donna’s YouTube channel currently has 63,533 subscribers and has received over 7 million views to date.
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