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 2012 at a gathering at theSpace @ Symposium Hall on the last Saturday of the festival.

1. Richard Tyrone Jones
In recent years, we’ve seen the growth of the spoken word genre at the Fringe; from one low key event at Edinburgh’s Southside to a section of its own in the Fringe Programme. One of the major figures pushing forward performance poetry at the Fringe is our first winner who not only has excited reviewers with his own show and the ‘Utter’ shows, but also programmes the whole spoken word section of the Free Fringe which accounts for a sizable portion of the aforementioned new section of the Fringe Programme. In recognition of these developments, and his role in making them happen, our first winner is the “ringmaster of spoken word”, Richard Tyrone Jones.

2. Fine Chisel
While it’s always impressive for a company to bring a number of different shows to any one festival, it’s not uncommon; for a company to bring three 5/5 shows is somewhat rarer. Yet this is what our next award winners have achieved. Our reviewer described ‘Firing Blanks’ as “an exquisitely crafted piece of theatre”, a second called ‘Midnight At The Boar’s Head’ “genuinely outstanding”, and a third reviewer declared that ‘Unplugged’ is “a dazzling array of theatre and music to immerse you into a fantastically enjoyable experience”. For their brilliantly produced and devised shows, our next winners are the Fine Chisel team.

3. Patrick Monahan
Our next winner has proven popular with ThreeWeeks reviewers over a number of years for his stand up as well as his children’s shows. If you were to search our reviews archive (and we did, the other night, when we were talking about him), you would turn up a very high proportion of 4/5 and 5/5 reviews. Over the last few years he’s been described by our reviewers as “ lively, engaging, and utterly delightful”, “a gifted storyteller and natural entertainer”, possessed of an “effortless quick-wit”, and as a “skilled comic who’s brave enough to continually interact with his audience, creating laugh after laugh”. The next Editors’ Award goes to Patrick Monahan.

4. Piece Of Work for ‘Script In Hand’
Our next is an award for one play, a clever and fascinating piece, that moved our discerning reviewer to write: “this radical work is about modernism, instability, change, and liberty of expression through language and art under threat of censorship. We are handed the play’s script – an urtext if you will – but the actors toy with it, embellish it, run with it. The fourth wall is smashed with gusto. This is also a play about the conflict between the traditional and the modern, and the power struggle between Gothic and Roman typefaces. Most importantly, this is a remarkable piece of theatre”. Our fourth award goes to Piece Of Work for ‘Script In Hand’ at Summerhall (pictured, Summerhall Director Rupert Thomson collecting the award on Piece Of Work’s behalf).

5. Temple Theatre – Unmythable
The recipients of our next award have been receiving positive reviews all over the Fringe media, but most importantly, of course, from us; our reviewer called their show a “brilliant and comedic journey”, commending it as “completely streamlined and utterly entertaining” and praising the cast of three for their handling of multiple roles and their superb character definition. Not only this, but one member of the cast wrote one of the funniest things to appear in ThreeWeeks this year. If you missed it, it was in Issue 2. The winners of our next award are Temple Theatre, for ‘Unmythable’.

6. Elsa Jean McTaggart
Our next recipient is a musician, and one who has won the unwavering approbation of a number of members of the ThreeWeeks review team, past and present. They love her anecdotes, her command of the fiddle, her fabulous vocals, and her masterful ability to mix traditional folk with jazz and electronica. Our next winner “ ignites the room with her awe-inspiring mastery and passion for music of all genres.” wrote this year’s reviewer. “she may seem like a normal Scottish woman, but do not be fooled because she is actually a Scottish superwoman of music”. This award goes to Elsa Jean McTaggart.

7. ThickSkin for ‘The Static’
ThickSkin first came to our attention back in 2010 with their 5/5 show ‘Blackout’, a fascinating true story about a Glaswegian young offender. When we heard they would be back this year with ‘The Static’, we took an immediate interest and tipped them in the preview issue, and were more than pleased when our reviewer gave them a 5/5 review and praised the show’s multimedia wizardry , the great use of physical theatre, and wonderful writing, concluding her review with a fairly unequivocal statement: “The closest thing to magical perfection I’ve ever seen”. Our next winners are ThickSkin for ‘The Static’.

8. Doug Segal
Our next recipient came to our attention back in 2011, and has continued to hold it, one way or another, ever since. He burst on to the Festival scene last year, packing out his free shows and creating an enormous buzz, despite the fact that he wasn’t even here for a full run. What impressed us the most, however, was the way he seemed to arrive with the spirit of the Fringe already installed; via our Twitter feeds we watched him becoming an integral part of the Festival community, as he offered support and friendship to other artists. Back this year with a show that wowed our reviewers as well as some of the management team, our next winner is Doug Segal.

9. Hunt & Darton Cafe
In a Fringe sea swimming with stand up comedians, Shakespeare adaptations, improv comedy and BBC recordings, our next winner made its mark on us as something truly alternative. This isn’t strictly theatre – for although it is listed in theatre, the sub categories of installation and performance art suit it better. “a place of engagement, spontaneity, action, artists and great food and drink” promised the Fringe website blurb, yet it offered so much more; the décor, the guest waiters, the bugger-bingo, the swivelympics… and all for at least twelve hours per day. Our next award goes to the hard-working duo behind Hunt & Darton Cafe.

10. The Bongo Club
Fringe institutions come and go, but some really last the distance and our next winner has been an important part of the Fringe for as long as ThreeWeeks has been covering it. We still remember the first time a ThreeWeeks reviewer returned to the office excitedly reporting on what was then an almost-secret late night haunt where Fringe acts could perform, collaborate and socialise. Over the years, this venue has provided so much more to the Fringe and Edinburgh at large than its late night cabaret, though that remains an important part of the Festival. In a year when the commercialisation of the Fringe has been such a hot topic for debate, this venue proves that you can be successful and attract big names while still embracing the spirit of the real Fringe. There are challenges ahead for this winner, but we hope that Edinburgh helps ensure those challenges can be met, and so are celebrating the last decade and a half and the next decade to come of The Bongo Club.

Words: Chris Cooke & Caroline Moses – Award presentation pictures: Kat Gollock