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The Mad Aunts!

As a Jobbing journalist in the in the 1980's, Louise Rennison was used to finding a story.

On the BA Performance Art course at Brighton University she learnt about the dramatic possibilities of her writing.

Around this time, she teamed up with her friends 'Barmy' Jane Bassett, Joanna Boyce and Sarah Tompkinson, to create a female cabaret group called "Women with Beards", performing comedy skits - including "The Mad Aunts".

"The Mad Aunts" was a pilot for the children's ITV series Number 73 and was her first attempt.

New found, lifelong friends and obliging course tutors with a sense of fun and optimism all contributed in the production of this pilot.

It was filmed inside staff accommodation at the university and decked out with props made by the Same Sky Arts Cooperative or borrowed from interior design shops.

The costumes were all hired -with a Morris Minor belonging to Louise's sister -Sophie, acting as a tour bus!

"Women with Beards", "Open Secret" and "The Wild Wigglers" were some of the acts which made their debut in the 1980s, some of the performers having worked on The Mad Aunts.

The Brighton arts audience at that time were nearly all performers themselves, or promoters. There was room for all sorts of entertainment, people just gave things a try.

Filmed in 1990, this video sees Louise perform as "Auntie Wizzie"- showcasing her funny side - which might provide you with some inspiration for entering our very own National Funny Award, created in Louise's honour ...


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