The second round of winners of this year's prestigious Fringe First Awards, celebrating high quality new theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe, are announced today (18 August 2006) in the Scottish capital. Six shows have been singled out by the Scotsman for distinction this week, including the latest one-man show from Daniel Kitson, who last year won a Fringe First for Stories for the Wobbly Hearted.

In Kitson’s new piece, C-90 (at the Traverse), it’s Henry’s last day at work where he’s surrounded by thousands of compilation tapes; he starts to listen to the unheard stories. The play, according to judges at the Scotsman, is a “little classic of English dramatic writing and performance”.

Another of this week’s winners, What I Heard About Iraq (Pleasance Courtyard), is adapted by Simon Levy from Eliot Weinberger’s London Review of Books article which exposes the human drama and hidden agendas behind the Iraq conflict through the words of politicians, soldiers and civilians involved. According to the judges, “of all the verbatim shows on this year's Fringe, What I Heard About Iraq is the most hard-hitting.

The rest of this week’s winners are: Finer Nobles Gases (Bongo Club), Adam Rapp’s play of 21st-century hippy humour revolving around former members of a rock band; Sclavi - The Song of an Emigrant (Aurora Nova) from the Prague-based Farm in the Cave company; Clean Alternatives (Assembly @ St George's West), a play by Brian Dykstra in which two lawyers enter into a Faustian pact; and Tom Crean - Antarctic Explorer (Assembly @ George Street), Aidan Dooley’s one-man show about the Irishman of the title who sailed with both Captain Scott and Shackleton.

Last week’s winners were: Black Watch, (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch, Particularly in the Heartland, Food, The Receipt and The Adventures of Tom Thumb (See News, 11 Aug 2006).

The Fringe First Awards, presented by the Scotsman newspaper in conjunction with the Fringe Society, are the festival's most prestigious recognition for drama. They were established in 1973 when there was concern that the Fringe was not attracting the right quantity and quality of shows. The awards are announced weekly during the festival. There is no fixed number given and the only requirement for consideration is that the work must be new - having had no more than six performances in the UK, prior to the Fringe.

The Edinburgh Fringe, the world's largest arts festival and now in its 60th year, opened on 6 August and continues to 28 August 2006 (See News, 8 Jun 2006). The Fringe’s parent event, the Edinburgh International Festival opened last Sunday, 13 August; it continues until 3 September (See News), 11 Aug 2006).

- by Terri Paddock