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Traverse Broadcasts to Cinemas, Fosters Seeks God

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The Traverse Theatre will broadcast five new short plays from its breakfast theatre season at this year's Fringe to cinemas across the UK. Following in the footsteps of the National Theatre's NT Live season and New York Metropolitain Opera's The Met: Live, the new Edinburgh new writing venue will broadcast a single performance of Impossible Things Before Breakfast (23 August 2010) in a co-production with Hibrow Productions.

Billed as Traverse Live!, the high definition cinema broadcasts will showcase specially commissioned scripts by Marina Carr, David Eldridge, Linda McLean, Simon Stephens and Enda Walsh with casts having rehearsed for just one day before the script-in-hand performances. The actors will be working with a combination of theatre and film directors to ready the pieces for the big screen including artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, Vicky Featherstone and Traverse artistic director, Dominic Hill.

Speaking about Traverse Live, Dominic Hill said: "This exciting project celebrates the fact that people are accessing theatre in new ways, and also de-mystifies the process of bringing a script to life." He added, "It will give people across the UK the chance to connect with the Traverse studio experience, and discover something brand new at the Festival."

The new short plays in the season include: My Friend Duplicity, by Irish playwright Enda Walsh, directed by Vicky Featherstone; Simon Stephens' darkly magical road trip, T5, directed by Dominic Hill; Linda McLean’s This is Water, directed by Stewart Laing which envisages interrogations of 18 people as they pass through a hut on the side of a hill; and David Eldridge’s "strange" short play, All Is Vanity, which is directed by Zinnie Harris.

The Traverse is not the only famous Edinburgh institution spreading a little bit of Fringe magic to the rest of the UK. For the first time ever the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, which have been awarded for over 30 years with previous sponsors Perrier and Intelegent Finance, will this year open up a category to the public vote.

This year sponsored by Australian lager Fosters (See News 26 May 2010), the awards will honour the public's "Comedy God", with the list of nominees including 173 previous award nominees and 47 past winners.

The nominees list reads like a Who's Who of British comedy, with all Best Comedy and Best Newcomer nominees from 1981 to 2009 eligible for the award. Nica Burns, the award's director, speaking about the Foster's Comedy God said: "With such a breathtakingly talented list of comedians, the choice is phenomenal.  This is our way of celebrating all the comedians nominated through the years who have made an invaluable contribution to the huge success that is today’s comedy world."

Some in the comedy world have seen the introduction of the publicly decided title as little more than a publicity stunt with Stewart Lee attacking the award as "inane". The nominee list includes household names such as Eddie Izzard, Dylan Moran, Frank Skinner and Lee Evans. The Comedy God will be awarded as part of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards at a lunchtime ceremony in Edinburgh on 28 August 2010.


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