Founded in 1973 by our then arts editor Allen Wright, the Scotsman Fringe Firsts continue to be the most prestigious theatre prizes at the Edinburgh Festival. The awards are given out every Friday during the Fringe in recognition of the best new writing premiered at the festival.
For over a decade now we have also programmed the Scotsman Fringe Awards, the biggest awards ceremony at the festival. This year’s will take place on Friday 24 August; see tomorrow’s Festival magazine to find out how to claim tickets. We will also announce more Fringe First winners next Friday.
In Iseult Golden and David Horan’s play – produced by Abbey Theatre at the Traverse – two separated, working-class parents roll up at school to talk to the teacher about their nine-year-old son, who seems to be having learning difficulties. It soon becomes clear that this has something to do with his father’s inability to deal with his own anger, and a culture in which, for some men, issues of gender, class and power now form a toxic mix of resentment and despair.
FIRST SNOW / PREMIERE NEIGE
Part of the Canada Hub programme at King’s Hall, this Canadian/Scottish co-production is an elegantly surreal and heightened domestic drama, in which writers from both countries – Philippe Ducros, Davey Anderson and Linda McLean – take the opportunity to explore the parallels between Quebec and Scotland’s independence referendums.
THE BASEMENT TAPES
In Zanetti Productions’ show at Summerhall, a young woman clearing out her recently deceased grandmother’s basement finds a portable tape player; and, in an old jacket pocket, a cassette tape. In the words of clickbait headlines the world over, what happens next will amaze you, as the unfolding story continually defies expectations. See review, page 7.
One of numerous shows this year exploring masculinity in crisis (see also Class, left), Penelope Skinner’s play at Underbelly is the tragedy of a man whose response to his girlfriend discovering feminism is to gravitate towards the men’s rights movement.
WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF
After establishing herself as a successful theatre director, Cora Bissett has gone back to her performing roots for her first play as a writer, showing at the Traverse. It’s the story of her time as an almost pop star in the band Darlingheart, and the life lessons it taught her. See review, page 8
Chris Thorpe and Rachel Chavkin previously worked together on the Fringe First award-winning Confirmation; their new show at Summerhall is another powerful, timely piece of theatre, exploring what happens if you don’t want the nationality you were given. See review, page 6
One of the most talked-about (and most divisive) shows at this year’s Fringe, David Ireland’s explosive play at the Traverse sees three would-be collaborators on a new theatre show almost literally tear chunks out of one another, through an increasingly bloody welter of gender and identity politics.