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 2010 at a gathering at the Carlton Hotel on the last Sunday of the festival.

1. Stu & Garry for ‘Free & Easy’
It’s easy at award events like this to only look for the brand new, but while we all obsess about finding this year’s big new thing, sometimes under your nose the whole time is a brilliant show that has been quietly entertaining Fringe-goers for years. Not only were these guys among the first to embrace the free show concept, and not only are they long-term regulars at one of our favourite venues, but our first winners have been impressing our review team for as many Festivals as we can remember. A great show in a great venue with two great comedians, our first award goes to Stu and Garry for their Stand show ‘Free & Easy’.

2. Sarah Louise Young
I don’t think anyone can fail to have noticed that in recent years cabaret at the Fringe, and beyond, has been revitalised. This is a very good thing. Helping to lead this trend in Edinburgh is the self-proclaimed Cabaret Whore. Our second winner has been appearing all over the Fringe this year, singing, dancing and making us laugh. Her various projects have included performances at both the Pleasance and Gilded Balloon, yet she chose to keep her flagship show free – very much the spirit of the Fringe. A favourite with our review team for several years now, our second winner is Sarah Louise Young.

3. The Plasticine Men for ‘Keepers’
It’s a common misconception that physical theatre is all remote and inaccessible, but this is not the case. And if anyone has proven this to be true this year it is our next winners. Taking a great true story as their starting point, these guys communicate the remoteness of their tale’s setting and the isolation their characters feel with minimal props and sets, cleverly employing, instead, movement and music. Our reviewer at the Brighton Fringe, where we first saw this show, said “wonderfully written, perfectly executed and utterly enchanting”, while our Edinburgh reviewer called this “physical theatre at its best”, Our next winners are The Plasticine Men for their show ‘Keepers’.

4. Terry Alderton
We get the impression that our next winner is a comedian that tends to divide opinion somewhat. However, opinion seems rarely divided amongst the ThreeWeeks team, whether we be covering the Brighton Fringe or comedy here in Edinburgh. Our reviewer said this year “his vocal abilities are astonishing and he has a talent for physical comedy to match; he is a human juke-box, beat-box and jack-in-the-box. He is an absolute pleasure to watch, even more so to listen to; he is unmissable”. Our next winner is Terry Alderton.

5. Theatre Ninjas
Although everyone knows the Edinburgh Fringe is a leading platform for showcasing new talent, it is less often noted that the Fringe is also the world’s biggest forum for cultural entrepreneurialism. We here at ThreeWeeks are always impressed and excited by the new business ideas that are tested and launched at the Fringe. One such venture that impressed us very much this year is our next winner. Most Fringe shows want and need to give away tickets in order to build an early audience and all important word of mouth. To create a platform that turns that process into something exciting and positive is a great achievement. In a Fringe full of phone apps this one stood out. Our next winners are the Theatre Ninjas.

6. Jo Bone for ‘Bane’ and ‘Bane 2’
There are some performers at the Fringe that our reviewers love so much they practically form the fan club. The next winner is one of those performers. He first attracted our attention at the Brighton Fringe in 2009, and has repeatedly impressed different ThreeWeeks reviewers with both his original show and the subsequent sequel. As our reviewer said this year: “The storytelling is hypnotising, the delivery is brilliant, and the script is faultless, encompassing both hilarious and nail-biting moments. He is just one man, and this is just one show, but by God, this is just spectacular!” Our next winner is Joe Bone for ‘Bane’ and ‘Bane 2’.

7. Delete The Banjax
For the punter, the benefits of Edinburgh’s free show strands are obvious. But their real genius is the opportunity they offer to participants. Our next winners are one act that are proof of that. They first came to our attention via their two year stint on the Free Fringe, and we were really pleased to see these guys picked up by one of the bigger comedy promoters this year. Not only that, but every year their shows get better – 3/5 in 2008, 4/5 in 2009, 5/5 in 2010. For proving the Free Fringe model works, and just generally being great, our next winners are Delete The Banjax.

8. In Short Productions for ‘Edges’
We have long been supporters of newer musicals being performed at the Fringe. We are also champions of quality student theatre. Our next winners are both of these, a young student company presenting a fabulous production of a great established new musical. Called “truly outstanding” by our reviewer, the quality of the performances by this cast has been noted by many. Our reviewer concluded: “Funny and moving, ‘Edges’ is a top-notch musical comedy you cannot afford to miss”. Our next winners are In Short Productions for their production of Pasek & Paul’s ‘Edges’.

9. Susan Harrison for ‘Creatures’
We are always telling people that not all the best comedy at this festival is on at one of the big comedy venues, and our next winner proves this to be so. This winner presents truly original, very entertaining shows. Her debut solo show at last year’s Festival, ‘Five Characters In Search Of Susan’, achieved a 5/5 review from our reviewer, who pronounced it ‘dark comedy at its best’. She returned with a new show this year, and our reviewer praised her razor sharp wit and apt social observation, calling it “smart and original absurdist comedy”. Our penultimate winner is Susan Harrison for ‘Creatures’.

10. East To Edinburgh
Given how important the Edinburgh Fringe is for any young or new creative talent looking to hone their craft and find an audience, it always bemuses me how unwilling many arts funders are to support performers to come here. There is one exception, the Escalator East To Edinburgh programme supported by Arts Council England East. What we especially like about this programme is that not only does it provide money to performers, but it also helps them promote their shows through a special printed programme and proactive PR campaign. This practical support is as valuable as any cheque. Not only that, but over the years these guys have introduced us to some of our favourite shows and perfomers. Our final winners this year are the guys behind Escalator East To Edinburgh.

Words: Chris Cooke & Caroline Moses – Award presentation pictures: James Robertson