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Speedy News #03: Awards, controversies and strikes

By | Published on Monday 15 August 2016


It’s the latest speedy news round up from ThreeWeeks…

OK, so we’re nearly half way through the Festival now, meaning it’s time we started reporting on some award winners. And while The Herald’s traditional Angel Awards aren’t happening this year, the trusty new writing prizes dished out by The Scotsman are still very much part of the Fringe proceedings. As normal, the broadsheet is presenting a set of Fringe First awards at the end of each week of the Festival.

Only one of the first batch of Fringe Firsts went to the Traverse this year, which is unusual, as they normally dominate the proceedings early on. This time Edinburgh’s other year-round arts space, Summerhall, boasted 50% of the winning shows. The first round of Fringe Firsts went to: ‘Heads Up’ (pictured above), ‘World Without Us’ and ‘Counting Sheep’, all at Summerhall, and then the Trav show, ‘Expensive Shit’, plus ‘Angel’ at Gilded Balloon Teviot and ‘The Interference’ at C. It’s good to be a first Fringe first.

More awards, and the final of the BBC Radio New Comedy Award took place in the Beeb’s new compound at George Heriot School last night. And the winner was Jethro Bradley. The other finalists, in case you wondered, were George Lewis, Sindhu Vee, Lauren Pattison, Catherine Bohart and Michael Odewale.

Away from awards, how about a little bit of controversy? You may remember that two years ago an Underbelly show that had received some funding from the Israeli government was ultimately cancelled after protests by pro-Palestinian groups made it impractical for performances to go ahead. Well, in a bid to “foster cultural ties between Israeli society and other countries”, a one-day International Shalom Festival is due to take place at Edinburgh’s Central Hall on Wednesday. This event has likewise garnered some protests, with claims that the event’s backers are linked to the Israeli embassy in London, but organiser Nigel Goodrich denies that, while telling The Herald that his festival is a cultural rather than a political event. He adds that it is to “Scotland’s lasting shame” that Incubator Theatre were unable to perform at Fringe 2014.

Elsewhere in potential controversies, the RMT union has announced three strikes on the East Coast mainline that links London and Edinburgh during the Fringe, as part of an ongoing dispute with the Virgin train company. The strikes are currently set for 19, 26 and 29 Aug, the latter being the final Monday of the Festival when lots of Londoners will be heading back down south. So that’s fun. But don’t worry, Virgin Trains East Coast says its timetable will be unaffected. Convinced? Ah well, just think of it as a piece of performance art and you should be OK.

Finally, it’s still our 21st year covering the Edinburgh Festival, and to celebrate we are interviewing five former ThreeWeeks cover stars for our all-new TW:TALKS podcast live at theSpace @ Symposium Hall. Which is to say, you can come and watch the interviews live. Our guests are: Mark Thomas on Tuesday 16, Brendon Burns on Wednesday 17, Susan Calman on Thursday 18, Lucy Porter on Friday 19 and Mark Watson on Saturday 20. Grab your free tickets at thisweektalks.com – and look out for the first podcast going live online soon.

Photo by Jazzy Earl

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