In addition to the final round of Fringe Firsts (See Today’s Other News), several other prizes were announced as part of the main Fringe awards ceremony, hosted today (23 August 2008) by actor-director Simon Callow at the Assembly @ George Street.

The Jack Tinker Spirit of the Fringe award was awarded jointly to the international venue, The World @ St George’s West, and at the Underbelly Motherland, Live Theatre’s verbatim drama about the partners of military personnel in Iraq, which has already won a Fringe First.

The Carol Tambor Award, which arranges an all-expenses-paid two- to three-week run at New York’s PS122 for the chosen production, went to another of this year’s Fringe First winners, Eight, a series of state-of-the-nation monologues performed by the Edinburgh University Theatre Company at Bedlam Theatre.

The other productions shortlisted for the Carol Tambor Award were: Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show at the Roman Eagle Lodge, Al Smith and Matt Hartley’s double bill of The Bird and The Bee at the Underbelly, Lisle Turner’s The Idiot Colony at the Pleasance, and Daniel Kitson’s 66a Church Road at the Traverse.

Modelled on the Carol Tambor Award, a new prize this year, the Holden Street Theatre Award, offers the winner a slot at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in Australia. It too went to a Fringe First winner, The Tailor of Inverness, Matthew Zajac’s one-man play about a Polish man in the Second World War at the Assembly @ George Street.

Finally, in their second year, the Musical Theatre Matters Awards judging panel courted controversy this year by deciding not to present a prize in one of their categories – Best Book for a New Musical – as they didn’t think any of the musicals premiered at this year’s festival, including the three shortlisted, were of a high enough quality (See News, 18 Aug 2008).

An awards spokesperson told Whatsonstage.com: “Everyone rushes out to write the music and lyrics for a new musical, but they don’t seem to give enough attention to the book, which is so important. There are some great shows on offer, but the judges felt that book element was lacking. Rather than hand out a dummy award, they wanted to take a stand and encourage people to take up the challenge of doing better next year.”

Of those categories which were awarded, two – Best Lyrics and Most Promising New Musical - went to Barbershopera! by Tom Green and Rob Castell at the Pleasance Courtyard. Funk It Up About Nothin’, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s twist on Much Ado About Nothing, and Dougal Irvine’s Departure Lounge, both at the Musical Theatre @ George Square, won Best Musical Production and Best Music, respectively.


The six categories in the 2008 Fringe’s Total Theatre Awards, celebrating visual and physical theatre, were also announced today.

The award for Experiment and Innovation went to Ontroerend Goed’s teenagers play Once and for all we\'re gonna tell you who we are so shut up and listen at the Traverse; the award for a Graduate Company went to Little Bulb Theatre’s Crocosmia at The Space on the Mile @ the Radisson; the award for Story Theatre went to The Man Who Planted Trees by Puppet State Theatre Company at the Scottish Storytelling Centre; the award for Visual Theatre went to Redcape Theatre’s The Idiot Colony at the Pleasance; the award for a Young Company went to The TEAM and the National Theatre of Scotland for Architecting at the Traverse; and the special award for making a significant contribution to physical and visual theatre went to Footsbarn, who staged A Midsummer Night’s Dream (pictured) in a specially constructed big top on Calton Hill.

The Total Theatre Awards were established in 1997 to recognise those “pushing at the boundaries of traditional theatre” at the festival. Awards supporters include barbicanbite08, the London International Mime Festival and the Central School of Speech and Drama.

- by Terri Paddock

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