Critic Joyce McMillan honoured for 40 years at the Fringe

Actor Aidan Gillen presents The Scotsman theatre critic Joyce McMillan with a bouquet of flowers for covering the Fringe for 40 years
. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Actor Aidan Gillen presents The Scotsman theatre critic Joyce McMillan with a bouquet of flowers for covering the Fringe for 40 years . Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A special presentation was made to The Scotsman theatre critic Joyce McMillan yesterday to mark her 40 years covering the Edinburgh festivals.

Camille O’Sullivan, the Irish singer who rose to fame in the late-night Fringe cabaret show La Clique, sprung a surprise on McMillan by announcing she would be getting her own moment in the limelight.

O’Sullivan’s partner, Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen, appeared from backstage with a bouquet of flowers for the journalist, who chairs the judging panel for The Scotsman’s Fringe First Awards.

McMillan started reviewing theatre for BBC Radio Scotland in the 1970s before getting commissions from Allen Wright, The Scotsman’s then arts editor, who launched the Fringe First Awards. Last year McMillan published a collection of her work as theatre critic for The Guardian, Scotland on Sunday and The Scotsman.

O’Sullivan said: “I feel kind of shy about this, because I have such a high respect for you. You’re much loved by so many people, not just performers. Your passion for theatre is absolutely infectious.”

McMillan said: “It’s been a joy to be at the Fringe for 40 years. I hope to do another 40, effortlessly. It’s the most magnificent life-affirming festival if you’re lucky enough, as many of us in this room are, to have a chance to see some of the finest work on it.

“People now buy more than two million Fringe tickets every year, without whom none of this would happen. They are the most amazing audience in the world. I’d also like to thank the artists, the people who make this Fringe by committing time, money, effort, hope, creativity and artistry to try to find a global platform to talk about the problems we share in the world we live in and to celebrate the joy of performance.

“It’s been an absolute privilege to be involved with the Fringe. Everyone asks me at the end of it if I am exhausted and I just say ‘no.’ For every bit of energy you put into the Fringe you get ten times back.”