ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards 2006

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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 2006 at a gathering at the C Venue on the last Sunday of the festival.

1. Lucy Kirkwood, Kandinsky and the Edinburgh University Theatre Company for The Umbilical Project
At ThreeWeeks we love great ideas, and great ideas that recognise and seize on the potential of the Edinburgh Fringe – where different productions of the same play are commonplace. In this project two theatre companies – Kandinsky and EUTC – each staged productions of the same brand new play, ‘Geronimo’ by Lucy Kirkwood. Not only that, Lucy directed one version herself, while an external director staged the other – with neither directors nor casts communicating about the show in the development process. The aim was to see what happened when different people staged the same new play. It is a great idea on so many levels, and has been a great idea well executed, and therefore deserving of a ThreeWeeks Editors Award. kandinsky-online.com | bedlamtheatre.co.uk

2. Full Mooners
A key component of the Edinburgh Fringe is, of course, the late night comedy and cabaret show – the shows where different comedians performing elsewhere at the festival showcase their work, and tackle an often more rowdy crowd. The Fringe’s late night shows come and go over the years, and so it is always exciting when a new one arrives. And especially if that new show manages to tread that tricky path – being chaotic, anarchic and wild, while still being accessible late night entertainment. We believe that in Full Mooners, Andrew Maxwell and his team have trodden that path with great skill creating for us what has already become an integral part of the late night Fringe. That’s not easy task in one year – and for that the Full Mooners team more than deserve their Editors Award. maxwellsfullmooners.com

3. Festival Of British Youth Orchestras
From a new strand at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, to a long standing one. We have been covering the Festival Of British Youth Orchestras ever since day one of ThreeWeeks. Each year the team from the National Youth Orchestra Association bring literally hundreds of hugely talented young musicians to this city to participate in a programme of classical and orchestral music that easily competes with the big name orchestras at the Festival. For their consistently good and exciting programme, which impressed ThreeWeeks’ classical reviewers as much this year as in 1996, we are giving them an Editors’ Award. nayo.org.uk

4. Ghost / Puppet Lab
Another thing we love about the Edinburgh Fringe are shows that find, create or utilise exciting and innovative venues – and especially those shows that find ways to use the fabric of Edinburgh itself as a place to stage their shows. Many shows and companies have done this over the years, but the one that caught our eye this year was Puppet Lab’s production Ghost, which transformed the streets of Leith into a performance space through the use of a simple head set and a clever soundscape. An very interesting show enjoyed in isolation, for their innovative use of sound, emotion and location, Puppet Lab deserve their Editors’ Award. ghost-web.org

5. Trans World Orchestra
Ask pretty much any of the ThreeWeeks team who made it to Fringe Sunday this year what their highlight of the day was, and they will probably reply the Trans World Orchestra. These guys are proof that Fringe Sunday can really work – because we know several ThreeWeeks reviewers who took the trip to the Jam House on Queens Street after hearing this duo play on the Fringe Sunday music stage. The fact the Trans World Orchestra, with simply drums and a didgeridoo, can rock both a Fringe Sunday open air stage and the enclosed Jam House, and get the ThreeWeeks team equally excited in both environments, tells you why these guys deserve their ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award.

6. Arturo Brachetti
The Fringe for us is not only about innovation, but about rediscovering and reinvention. In fact, you could argue that is exactly what innovation is. Either way, Arturo Brachetti, employing the old art of quick-change, performs one of the most innovative shows you will see at the Edinburgh Fringe. It is an art almost impossible to properly describe in words, and something you really should see for yourself. But, to quote our reviewer: "I wouldn’t call myself a cabaret connoisseur, but I know the good stuff when I see it. What a remarkable slice of magic this man brings forth". For bringing his unique art to the Festival, we give Arturo Brachetti and Editors’ Award. brachetti.com

7. Into The Hoods
Another show it is hard to put in words, though the words our reviewer used were: "Simply, a seamless interweaving of theatre, comedy and explosive dance, everyone must see this show". In ‘Into The Hoods’, Zoo Nation have combined great skill and energy to produce a show which is both innovative, and hugely accessible. One of the big hits of the Edinburgh Festival 2006, ‘Into The Hoods’ is a great example of what good Fringe show should do – both creatively, and in terms of exciting its audience – and for that is fully deserving of a ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award. intothehoods.com

8. Johnny Miller Presents
One of the thrills of receiving your Fringe programme each June is checking out what new venues are being launched that year – which new building we never realised was there will be transformed into a fully fledged theatre for three weeks in August? This year one of the new venues that immediately caught our eye was that being run by Johnny Miller Presents in the New Town. Once we investigated it further, we discovered that Johnny Miller and friends were using their Georgian Town House to stage some very interesting shows, and not only that, were running a special kids club and a programme for new writers. It was a great programme, and a welcome addition to the Edinburgh Fringe, and for that we are giving them an Editors Award.

9. Tim Minchin
While the ThreeWeeks Editors Awards are ultimately selected by the ThreeWeeks editors and publishers, there is a little democracy in the selection process. On that basis alone we just had to give Mr Tim Minchin an award, for simply being loved by pretty much everyone in the ThreeWeeks team. Add to that the fact that we have enjoyed and admired his great comedy show ever since we first stumbled across him right at the start of the Fringe last year, and there can be no doubt that Tim is a deserving winner of a ThreeWeeks Editors Awards. timminchin.com

10. Peter Buckley Hill
We spoke earlier about how we had been covering the Festival Of British Youth Orchestras since pretty much day one of ThreeWeeks. Another Fringe institution who we have been following for years is Peter Buckley Hill. When we first interviewed him in 1998 he explained the logic behind his Free Fringe, in those days a couple of shows in pubs on the West side of town. A constant advocate of the original Fringe ethos, more and more comedians have followed his leads over the years, meaning this year the Free Fringe was a really substantial part of the Edinburgh Festival, and one that provides a platform that enables newer or grass roots comedian with an accessible way to showcase their work, and which offers the comedy fan a accessible and affordable way to discover new comedy. For creating, advocating and championing this truly Fringe approach, Peter Buckley Hill is a truly deserving winner of a ThreeWeeks Editors Award. freefringe.org.uk

Words: Chris Cooke