The 65th Edinburgh Festival Fringe has drawn to a close in the Scottish capital, with a raft of awards being handed out over the bank holiday weekend and the Fringe Society announcing that nearly 1.9 million tickets were issued over the course of the month.

The number of participants in this year’s festival was the largest ever, with an estimated 21,192 performers taking to the stage compared to 21,148 in 2010 and 18,901 in 2009.

Kath Mainland, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said: “I am delighted to announce this year has been another incredibly successful event. The courage and creativity of the thousands of individuals that participate in this unique, world-class event are what make this such an inspiring and important festival.”

“That almost 1.9 million tickets have been issued for this great festival, as well as the many, many people who have experienced the free non-ticketed performances is a great testament to the resilience of the world’s largest arts festival. The Fringe’s committed, loyal and risk-taking audiences have this year enjoyed another exciting, exhilarating, challenging and entertaining month in Edinburgh.”

Final awards

Among the plethora of awards being handed out over the weekend were The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence, which saw Billy Mack becoming the first performer to win for a second time. Scottish actor Mack, who was recognised in 2009 for his performance in The Sound of My Voice, won his second Best Actor award for The Overcoat (Pleasance Dome).

There were first-time winners in the other three categories. Picking up the Best Actress award was Alessija Lause, who appeared in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (St George’s West). Best Ensemble went to Glasgow Citizens Theatre for The Monster in the Hall (Traverse) and Best Solo Show went to Gerard Logan for The Rape of Lucrece(Zoo Southside).

Elsewhere, the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality went to comedian Johnny Sorrow, the Cunning Stunt Award to Kunt and the Gang and Bob Slayer (for their ‘cockgate’ sticker scheme), and the Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid Award went to Benet Brandreth, son of Gyles.

Ten Three Weeks Editors’ Awards were handed out to acts including comedians Robin Ince and Alex Horne (for The Horne Section), as well as the Book Fringe, which takes place in the Word Power book shop.

Other winners were: River People for their show Little Matter; children’s show specialists Spotlites; the I Hate Children Children’s Show; sketch comedy troupe Casual Violence!; Circle Of Eleven for Leo; The Fudge Shop; and Theatre Alba.

The last round of Bank of Scotland Herald Angel Awards were presented at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre on Saturday (27 August 2011). The Herald Archangel went to veteran director Max Stafford-Clark for A Dish of Tea with Dr Johnson (Traverse), while Angels were also collected by venues Zoo Southside and Forest Fringe, and theatre company Fuel for The Simple Things in Life at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Finally, the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award went to Leo by Circle of Eleven (St.George’s West), and the Jack Tinker Spirit of the Fringe Award was given to Remarkable Arts for its programme of work at St George's West and Hill St Theatre.