Edinburgh Fringe First Awards, presented on a weekly basis during the festival, are a good indication of shows and companies to watch out for in the future. Every Friday during the Fringe Festival, Theatrenow will be listing the Fringe Firsts for that week.
The Scotsman Fringe Firsts are the oldest established and most prestigious awards on the Fringe. First introduced in 1973, they were developed in conjunction with the Fringe Society and designed to encourage Fringe groups to bring new work to the Festival.
In this they have spectacularly succeeded; several hundred new works are premiered in Edinburgh every summer. There is no fixed number of awards; between ten and twenty are awarded each year. And there is no overall winner.
The criteria are kept deliberately vague so that all kinds of work can be embraced. All that matters is that it's new. The awards are for the play rather than the performance so that they are not necessarily the best shows on The Fringe, though they often are.
Awards are announced in The Scotsman newspaper and there is an awards ceremony each Friday during the festival. Previous winners have included many of the leading lights of the British theatre, including: • Further than the Furthest Thing written by Zinnie Harris (2000), which recently played at The National Theatre.
• Splendour written by Abi Morgan (2000). Abi's new play Tender will be performing at the Hampstead Theatre in September.
• Woman in Waiting written by Thembi Mtshali (2000), recently played at The New Ambassadors earlier this year.
• The Bogus Woman written by Kate Adshead (2000), performed at The Tricycle Theatre in Spring of this year.
• Decky does a Bronco written by Douglas Maxwell (2000), just finished a UK tour in a London Playground in association with The Almeida Theatre.
• Nixon's Nixon by Russell Lees (1999), currently showing at The Comedy Theatre at the moment.
• Kvetch written and directed by Stephen Berkoff (1991), played at The Kings head and transferred to the Garrick Theatre in 1992.
Some of the shows that will be playing on this year's Fringe and are already being talking about are:
• Tiny Dynamite, a new play by Abi Morgan. A collaborative production with Frantic Assemble and Paines Plough, with design by Julian "Shockheaded Peter" Crouch. The Production will perform at The Traverse Theatre August 3- 24.
• Spymonkey presentCooped, a Gothic romance at The Pleasance Aug. 1- 27. Winners of a Total Theatre Award 2000, the company follow last year's Fringe hit Stiff - Undertaking, undertaking.
• Chris O'Connell, the writer of the Time Out Award winning Edinburgh 1999 hit Car, returns with a similarly in-yer-face play called Raw. The production plays at The Pleasance Aug. 5- 27.
• Kneehigh Theatre, the National Theatre Of Cornwall, brings its stirring grisly fairy-tale production The Red Shoesto the Fringe, playing at The Pleasance Aug. 13-27.
• The Man In The Flying Lawn Chair, this off-Broadway production from the 78th Street Theatre Lab tells of a Californian trucker who, in 1982, flew 16,000 feet in the air in a garden chair fitted with weather balloons, for fun! The production will play at The Assembly Rooms Aug. 3 27.
Just some of the Tiny Dynamites to watch out for.
— by Theatrenow