The Scotsman Fringe First awards 2017 winners so far

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SINCE 1973 The Scotsman’s world famous Fringe First awards have been recognising outstanding new writing premiered at the festival - here are our first winners of 2017.

The winners are announced each Friday during the Fringe – with the final week’s winners revealed at The Scotsman Fringe Awards at the Pleasance on 25 August.

Flesh and Bone. Picture: Contributed

Flesh and Bone. Picture: Contributed

Thank you to our judges, Joyce ­McMillan, Mark Fisher, Susan Mansfield, Jackie McGlone, Fiona Shepherd, David Pollock and Sally Stott.

And congratulations to all of our winners.


The Fall

The Believers Are But Brothers.

Picture: The Other Richard

The Believers Are But Brothers. Picture: The Other Richard

In this remarkable show, one of six brought to Assembly this year by ­Baxter Theatre in South Africa, a cast of seven re-enact the moment, in 2015, when a statue of Cecil Rhodes was removed from the campus of the University of Cape Town – and the fierce debates that followed. Read Joyce McMillan’s review here.

Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour is joined by a different actor at the Traverse every day – none of whom sees the script before they perform it – for a quietly ­transformative show about human ­connection. Read Joyce McMillan’s review here.

Flesh and Bone

Elliot Warren’s blistering play, at Pleasance, blends Shakespearean language and East End slang with apparent seamlessness in the mouths of two people who live in abject poverty – cockney wide boy Terence and girlfriend Kelly, who works sex chatlines for extra cash. Read Susan Mansfield’s review here.

Letters to Morrissey. Picture: David Monteith-Hodge

Letters to Morrissey. Picture: David Monteith-Hodge

Letters to Morrissey

Gary McNair’s new show at the Traverse describes how, as a solitary ­teenager, he found solace in Morrissey and wrote to him (fruitlessly) ­asking for advice. It’s a rich, affectionate coming of age story. Read Joyce McMillan’s review here.


This show by New York writer Brian Parks, at Assembly, is a fast-talking satire on capitalism – timely, hilarious, and frightening. Read Joyce McMillan’s review here.

The Believers Are But Brothers
Javaad Alipoor’s thoughtful and visually stunning show at Summerhall is a quest to understand people who have become radicalised through the ­internet, sometimes ­travelling to Syria to join the ­organisation that calls itself Islamic State. Read Joyce McMillan’s review here.



Transgender experience is a key theme at this year’s Fringe, and it is powerfully expressed in this National Theatre of Scotland show at the Traverse, in which Adam Kashmiry tells his own story in a production directed by Cora Bissett and written by Frances Poet. Read the review here.


Apphia Campbell’s one-woman show at the Gilded Balloon tells the stories of two very different women – the 1970s black power activist Assata Shakur and, in the present day, a young, enthusiastic and naïve black student. 
See Joyce McMillan’s review here.

The Shape Of The Pain

This new show at Summerhall, by Rachel Bagshaw and Chris Thorpe, is an attempt to communicate what it’s like to live with complex regional pain syndrome, a condition created by a malfunctioning central nervous system. The narrative gives a human face to an extraordinary, and very poorly understood mental state.

A Super Happy Story (About Being Sad)

A big hit at the Pleasance, Jon Brittain’s show, featuring some very funny songs by Matthew Floyd Jones of Frisky and Mannish fame, brilliantly captures the way depression strikes regardless of how happy the circumstances, how perfect the moment, how well things are going. Read the full review here.

How To Act

Graham Eatough’s play for the National Theatre of ­Scotland, showing at Summerhall, is a disturbing study of power and its abuses in the arts and beyond. See Joyce McMillan’s review here.


For his perfectly pitched new show at the Gilded Balloon, Henry Naylor returns to the subject of Syria, after completion of his Middle East trilogy, to examine how we in the West view conflict and disaster across the planet through lenses provided for us by Western cameramen and photographers. See Joyce McMillan’s review here.

£¥€$ (Lies)

Belgian company Ontroerend Goed is back at its remarkable best in this show at Summerhall, in which the audience are as much characters as the company members themselves, assembling round a set of casino tables where a teller takes us through an escalating series of £1 million dice throwing gambles – teaching you as much about yourself as it does about the global money machine. Read the full review here.