MIES JULIE, the South African show that has won a string of plaudits at the Fringe, yesterday claimed the prestigious Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award.
The production by Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre, which relocates Strindberg’s classic play to post-apartheid South Africa and was described by one critic as “the jewel of Assembly’s glittering South African season”, has received five-star reviews in The Scotsman, Guardian, Herald, Times and Evening Standard. It has won a Scotsman Fringe First award and a Herald Angel.
Winning the Carol Tambor award means the show will now transfer to New York.
“We’ve come a long way to receive all these accolades,” an exuberant Thokozile Ntshinga said on stage at yesterday’s Scotsman Fringe Awards at Assembly George Square. “We’re taking them back home with us. We have arrived!”
The Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award was one of numerous prizes announced yesterday at the biggest awards show on the Fringe, which this year featured live performances from the Othello: The Remix, Vocal is Lekka, Juana in a Million and Dirty Great Love Story.
The Jack Tinker Spirit of the Fringe Award was won by Theatre Uncut, an ongoing project in which dozens of writers – from famous American playwright Neil LaBute to rising Scottish star Kieran Hurley – have created ten-minute dramas in response to public-spending cuts. The plays, performed at the Traverse Theatre, will be free to download later this year, so companies across the world can stage their own versions.
“When Theatre Uncut approached us earlier in the year it was a no-brainer that we should accept the challenge,” said the Traverse’s new director, Orla O’Loughlin, accepting the award on behalf of Hannah Price and Emma Callendar, who created the project.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the talent, the appetite and the brilliance of the work.”
Two shows from the Old Vic Theatre’s New Voices programme, which supports emerging writers, also won major awards – Chapel Street, a play about “broken Britain” by Luke Barnes, won the Brighton Fringe Emerging Talent Award, while the Holden Street Theatres Award, which takes one show each year to the Adelaide Fringe, was won by Glory Dazed, inspired by the true-life stories of prisoners who had formerly been soldiers in Iraq.
The awards – as Linda Crooks of the Traverse Theatre observed – were also notable for recognising memorable, politicised performances by women.
The Arches Brick Award, which chooses one show each year to be restaged at the cutting-edge Glasgow venue, was won by The Shit/La Merda, in which the actress Silvia Gallerano delivers an intense stream-of-consciousness monologue about her anxieties over body image, career and personal identity, while completely naked.
This week’s Scotsman Fringe Firsts also recognised two outstanding solo performances by women – Sonya Kelly in The Wheelchair On My Face, about Kelly’s childhood battle with undiagnosed myopia, and Jenna Watt in Flaneurs, another very personal show, about Watt’s response to a male friend being assaulted in London.
CAROL TAMBOR BEST OF EDINBURGH AWARD
• WINNER: Mies Julie (Assembly) – with an
extra award for Midsummer, David Greig and Gordon McIntyre’s ‘play with songs’, a previous award-winner which had been unable to transfer to New York but will now be staged there in January next year.
• SHORTLISTED: A Tapestry of Many Threads, Theatre Uncut, Born to Run, Bullet Catch.
• WINNER: Glory Dazed
• SHORTLISTED: The Trench, Dirty Great Love Story, Continuous Growth, Why Do You Stand There In The Rain? Soldiers’ Wives.
JACK TINKER SPIRIT OF THE FRINGE AWARD
• WINNER: Theatre Uncut.
ARCHES BRICK AWARD
• WINNERS: The Shit/La Merda and Torycore
• SHORTLISTED: Red, Like our Room Used To Feel, Grit, XXXO, Endure, We are Chechens!, Juana in a Million, Flaneurs, Amusements.
BRIGHTON FRINGE EMERGING TALENT AWARD
• WINNER: Chapel Street
• SHORTLISTED: Juana in a Million, Dirty Great Love Story, Educating Ronnie, The Price of Everything, Why Do You Stand There in the Rain?
SCOTSMAN FRINGE FIRSTS (WEEK 3): Flaneurs, Monkey Bars, Rainbow, The Shit/La Merda, Songs of Lear, Thread, The Wheelchair On My Face.
SCOTSMAN FRINGE FIRSTS (WEEKS 1&2): Theatre Uncut, Educating Ronnie, As of 1.52pm GMT on Friday April 27th 2012, This Show Has No Title, Mies Julie, Dirty Great Love Story, The List, Mark Thomas: Bravo Figaro!, All That Is Wrong, Why Do You Stand There In The Rain?, Juana in a Million, Continuous Growth.