ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards 2005

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The ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards go to the ten things that we, the ThreeWeeks editors, believe make the Edinburgh Festival extra special in any one year. Winners can be people, plays, companies, venues or even whole festivals. The awards were presented in 2005 at a gathering at the C Venue on the last Sunday of the festival.

1. Signal To Noise for ‘Homemade’
It seems like every room in Edinburgh becomes a venue during August, but in ‘Homemade’, director Chris Goode (pictured) and his Signal To Noise theatre company took this to the next level, by bringing their show into your flat. We love the use of innovative spaces at ThreeWeeks, but it is not just for the basic premise that we are making this award. The play goes well beyond the gimmick of being performed in your flat. It is a wonderful piece of devised and improvised theatre, heart warming and sad, technically simple but brilliant, with a skilled and talented cast. They produce a magically beautiful setting and story which represents the best of narrative and drama, presented in a highly innovative way.

2. Tim Fitzhigham for ‘In The Bath Unplugged’
The great thing about the Edinburgh Festival is that performing here is an adventure. From the moment you decide to stage a show at the Fringe there is a journey that you must take – one with many challenges and tedious deadlines, with highs and lows, and, of course, with the constant risk of bankruptcy. Tim Fitzhigham, however, decided to take the adventure to new heights, by adding the tricky task of rowing across the English Channel in a bath to the list of requirements for his show. But again, we are not making this award simply for the concept of the show, as fantastic and insane as it may be. This award has been made because Tim has successfully transformed his mad adventure into a compelling piece of comedy story telling that leaves his audience laughing one minute, crying the next. It is a show as remarkable as the adventure is describes. fitzhigham.co.uk

3. Prodigal Theatre Company for ‘The Tragedian’
A couple of years ago ThreeWeeks editor Sam Taylor, then a reviewer for the paper, wrote a rave review for a new play being performed at the festival. It was such a good piece of theatre that he was still talking about it several years later. So we approached this Festival with a certain level of anticipation when we heard that this play was returning as one part of a trilogy. Would the other two live up to our high expectations? Well, we sent two different reviewers to both of them, and they both returned rave reviews. Which is why we feel that the Prodigal Theatre Company’s trilogy of plays, ‘The Tragedian’, is fully deserving of an Editors’ Award. prodigaltheatre.co.uk

4. Mark Watson for ‘2005 Years In 2005 Minutes’
If there is one thing the ThreeWeeks team can empathise with, it is staying awake for very long periods of time during August, which is why we feel a special affinity to comedian Mark Watson, who this year bettered his 24 hour stand up show from Fringe 2004 by performing a show that lasted 2005 minutes – that’s 33 hours and 25 minutes. Watson’s achievement isn’t so much having the ability to stay awake for that length of time, but more the skill of being able to craft an event that can keep an audience occupied and entertained for so many hours. Such a long show is, of course, only for a small audience of very committed and very dedicated comedy fans, but such an audience does exist at the Edinburgh Festival, and ThreeWeeks would like to commend Mark for providing this audience with a unique comedy experience. markwatsonthecomedian.com

5. Kandinsky for ‘Enola’
We have always been huge champions of new writing at the Edinburgh Festival, and strongly believe that new plays form one of the most important strands of the Fringe. We are not alone in this passion of course, with the Scotsman also championing new writing through their Fringe First programme. However, we do feel that the number of Traverse and Assembly shows that appear on the Fringe First shortlists offer the wider public a false view new playwriting at the Festival. The fact is there are genius new plays being premiered at all venues, and not just those larger two. This is the new play we would particularly like to mention, staged at the Underbelly, and showcasing the talent of a promising new writing voice. It was a well crafted and well characterised piece of theatre that excited several members of the ThreeWeeks team. kandinsky-online.com

6. No Fit State Circus for ‘Immortal2’
Another company utilising an interesting performance space in a very interesting way, No Fit State Circus’ show combines story, music and circus skills to create a truly visual experience. With a show that unfolds around the audience from their arrival in the circus tent’s bar area, this is a fantastically crafted show featuring versatile performers able to tell a story, make some music and then take to the ropes and perform some expert acrobatics. A fantastic show utilising a great space in a much under-used part of the city – a much deserved winner of a ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award. nofitstate.org

7. C Films
ThreeWeeks’ editor Caro Moses created the word ‘multi-brow’ a couple of years ago to describe ThreeWeeks’ artistic policy. We encourage and champion innovative and alternative work in all genres, but we recognise that such work needs to be accompanied by more mainstream works to provide a full cultural experience. This is why ThreeWeeks is awarding and Editors’ Award to the C venues’ film programme at the C Electric. Through this programme C took over one of Edinburgh’s legendary film venues and restored it to its original use, putting on a programme of classic movies that provided a new entertainment strand at the Fringe. Of course none of us know if the old Odeon building will still be standing in twelve months time. But, if it is, we hope C will further develop this new strand of the Festival. cthefestival.com

8. Giudecca Productions for ‘Parade’
This year ThreeWeeks had its own radio show on Festival FM, and different ThreeWeeks reviewers joined us on air to tip their favourite shows. One ThreeWeeks reviewer had already had his slot on the show, but after seeing this production insisted he come back on. The musicals programme is not the biggest at the Fringe, and the number of new musicals is particularly small, but it is not just because ‘Parade’ is new that we are giving this award. Our reviewer reckoned this was simply the best new musical he had ever seen in years, with great music, great songs and a well thought out plot. giudecca.org.uk

9. Festival Of Politics
ThreeWeeks’ passion for the Edinburgh Festival lies in the sheer eclecticism of the programme of events staged here – and one of our editorial aims is to encourage festival-goers to try a genre or artform they would not normally consume. One ‘genre’ that has begun to grow in recent years at the Festival is that of political and cultural debate, with both the Book Festival and the Institute Of Ideas staging events in this domain. This year a new festival was launched with this specific strand of events in mind – the Festival Of Politics. Staged by the Scottish Parliament, ThreeWeeks believes this was an excellent addition to the programme of the wider Festival, and we hope it is one that can grow in size and profile in years to come. festivalofpolitics.org.uk

10. Southside and Roman Eagle Lodge for £10 Ticket Offer
Like we are always saying, the whole point of the Fringe is to come here to catch the shows you know you are going to like but, while you are here, to also take a gamble on some shows or performers you have never heard of. However, we all know it is very difficult to do that when ticket prices now cost so much. That’s why we liked this ticket promotion so much. For £10 fringe-goers could get into every show taking place at the Southside and Roman Eagle Lodge on the day of the promotion, enabling people to truly take a gamble on something a little bit different. It was a great idea and one ThreeWeeks actively encourages, which is why the Southside publicity team definitely deserve their ThreeWeeks Editor Award.

Words: Chris Cooke