Theatre News

Shortlists Announced in Fringe Musical Awards

At the Edinburgh Fringe today, shortlists are announced in the third annual Musical Theatre Matters: UK Awards, the only prize-giving specifically dedicated to the musical genre at the world’s largest arts festival. The awards are sponsored this year by

Of the 11 productions to make the shortlists, Stuart Price and Michael Bruce’s Ed: The Musical leads the pack with four nominations, followed by Christopher Hamilton’s Over the Threshold with three. Four other musicals – Cynthia Hopkins’ Accidental Nostalgia, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, Jake Brunger and Pippa Leary’s The Great British Soap Opera, and Baba Brinkman’s rap piece The Rebel Cell – all receive two nods apiece.

Venue-wise, the 20 nominations are divided between six of the Fringe’s 265 venues: the festival’s first-ever dedicated musical venue, the Musical Theatre @ George Square (with ten), C Soco (four), the Traverse Theatre (two), Underbelly (two), Gilded Balloon (one) and Pleasance (one).

In announcing today’s, awards coordinator Fiona Orr said: “The nominations were reached unanimously after a passionate and lengthy debate within the assessment panel. The amount and quality of musical theatre at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year has impressed, and we now look forward to the judging panel’s final decisions on the winners.”

The 2009 MTM: UK Awards comprise five key prizes – Best New Musical, Best Musical Production, Best Book, Best Music and Best Lyrics – as well as a new judges’ discretionary award. From this year’s Fringe programme, a total of 62 musicals were deemed eligible for one or more awards this year. During the first two weeks of the festival, each show was visited twice by a team of assessors.

Over the next week, the panel of judges – including editorial director Terri Paddock – will pay each show a final visit before making final decisions. The winners will be announced, and awards presented, next Tuesday, 25 August 2009, at 7pm at a gala concert, held in aid of Musicians Benevolent Fund at the Musical Theatre at George Square in Edinburgh.

The Awards, run by the professional theatre network organisation Musical Theatre Matters, were established in 2007 to champion the next generation of musical theatre producers, writers and shows. While musical theatre is not excluded from many other Edinburgh awards, the artform did not seem to be achieving the plaudits deserved by the creatives. In the first two years, 11 shows were selected for commendations and awards, and many of those pieces have moved on – six have had presentations in London, one is heading to the New York Summer Play Festival, and three have had UK tours.


Best Book for a New Musical

  • A-Team – The Musical – Gareth Kane
  • Ed: The Musical – Stuart Price
  • Murder Mystery Musical – Alison Cameron & Shaun McKenna

Best Lyrics for a New Musical

  • Barbershopera II – Rob Castell & Tom Sadler
  • Ed: The Musical – Stuart Price
  • Over the Threshold – Christopher Hamilton

Best Music for a New Musical

  • Bloodbath – The Musical – David Young & Julie Maguire
  • Ed: The Musical – Michael Bruce
  • Over the Threshold – Christopher Hamilton

Best New Musical

  • Ed: The Musical – Stuart Price (book/lyrics), Michael Bruce (music), Lauren Southwick (director) and Stopped Clock (producer)
  • The Great British Soap Opera – Jake Brunger (book/lyrics), Pippa Cleary (music/lyrics), Luke Sheppard (director) & Take Note Theatre (producer)
  • Over the Threshold – Christopher Hamilton (music/book/lyrics), John Brant (director) & Jomo Productions in association with Perfect Pitch (producers)
  • Porn The Musical – Malcolm Galea (music/book/lyrics), Kris Spiteri & Boris Cezek (music), Malcolm Galea (director) and Indiskarf with Latina Pictures (producer)

Best Production

  • Accidental Nostalgia
  • The Great British Soap Opera
  • Rebel Cell
  • Showstopper!

Judges Discretionary Award

  • Cynthia Hopkins – Accidental Nostalgia, for pushing the boundaries of performance through technology
  • The Rebel Cell – for creative use of technology
  • Showstopper! The Improvised Musical – for an ensemble that creates a first night, every night!

For full details about the MTM:UK Awards, including eligibility criteria and the full list of shows being assessed for consideration in 2009, visit the Musical Theatre Matters website.

For full coverage of Edinburgh 2009 – including reviews, interviews blogs, news, features & video – go to