A NEW, all-female, grassroots comedy movement is targeting next month's Glasgow Comedy Festival with a fast-paced sketch show.

Witsherface, which is led by Karen Dunbar, Elaine Mackenzie Ellis, whose credits include Rab C Nesbitt, and Maureen Carr, from Still Game, will launch “Funny how...?” at Saint Luke's, in the Calton, on March 11 and 12.

One of the creative's main ambitions is to create a 'non-judgmental environment' for the writing and testing of comedy, giving freedom to experimental work and then the potential to show it to audiences through gigs, community workshops and YouTube.

Dunbar said: “We have developed a raft of brand-new comedy sketches and I am thrilled to say that we are also showcasing a pool of young, fresh-faced, upcoming, talented comediennes.

"Tickets are only £7 - or £5 concessions - and all the proceeds from the night will fund future community comedy events, where we will work with women of all ages and levels to develop and try out new material.”

Witsherface co-founder, Maureen Carr, told her she and co-founder and best friend, director/editor Jacqui McAlpine, became tired of seeing few opportunities for women in comedy. They had spoken to many writers and performers who had created new material but had ended up putting it in a drawer, with lots of good ideas never seeing the light of day.

She said: “Essentially, Witsherface is supplying a platform for women to try out new comedy material.

"We have a host of Scotland’s leading talent all working together developing new work and providing an opportunity to develop young emerging talent. When you're with a group of women you don't feel embarrassed as much when you suggest ideas. I think that women feel more relaxed in a female environment. It is about developing confidence.”

Mackenzie Ellis added: "This is a comedy movement with a load of women, rather than a feminist movement with comedy. There just isn’t a whole lot of opportunities for female comedians to really hone their material. So we are doing it for ourselves. But the bottom line is top-quality humour."

Witsherface also plans to tour community venues, to perform and develop a series of comedy workshops. It is also drawing up plans to produce a sketch show that will broadcast on YouTube in April.

Dunbar said: “Some of the material is quite experimental and we will all be trying out new stuff to see what works and what doesn’t. Only the best sketches will make it on to the YouTube show which is being shot by some of the best camera women in the industry – so it is really slick, really well-produced work.

“One of the best aspects of forming this collective is that a lot of the older, more experienced performers are getting the opportunity to pass on their skills to the younger performers coming up, but the young ones are totally energizing the auld yins to try different material as well.

"It’s a total melting pot of ideas where you can try anything out and not fear being judged. Its just got to be really funny... no pressure!”

Uppermost in their minds is the wish to create an environment that leads to a culture change in Scotland’s comedy circuit and broadcast circles, in which "a lot more funny women" will be taken seriously.

Next month's show at Saint Luke's will feature 56 fast-fire sketches, with a meet-and-greet after the show. Tickets can be booked by telephoning 0844 873 7353 or logging onto www.glasgowcomedyfestival.com