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 2015 at a gathering at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall Library on the last Saturday of the festival.

1. Michael Legge
ThreeWeeks reviewers have said lots of good things about our first winner in the past. They’ve described him as “passionate”, “reliable”, “constantly professional”, “gloriously funny”, “hilarious”, “ferocious” and “oddly uplifting”. Meanwhile, as well as ably entertaining our team with his live shows in August, he’s been making at least one ThreeWeeks Editor laugh every day of the year via Twitter and/or Facebook. So he’s been on our possible-award-radar for a while now, but we felt that this year was the year: partly because of a brilliant show, and partly for being the highly active force behind something called #LetsSellThisGigOut, a social media movement designed to give as many acts as possible a sell-out night at the Festival that really took off this year. That’s what we call Fringe Spirit. Our first winner is Michael Legge.

2. Japan Marvelous Drummers
In the twenty years we have been covering the Fringe (yes, twenty) we have seen a fair few drumming shows and it’s always fabulous to see the exponents of this kind of music making their way to Edinburgh. However, we are particularly keen to reward our next winners for their contribution to the Fringe, because of their flawless record with our enthusiastic team; our writers have given them two consecutive 5/5 reviews, and praised not just the musical ability of the players, but also their humour, co-ordination and physical strength. This year’s reviewer spoke of their “astounding skill and stamina”, and the show’s “explosion of raw power and noise”, calling their performance “big, loud and utterly wonderful”. Our next winners are Japan Marvelous Drummers.

3. Story Pocket Theatre
Next up, the creators of superb entertainment for children. Well, we say children, but, as any fool knows, the real secret of a brilliant children’s show is in the appeal it has for everyone in the room – the children, yes, but also their carers and companions. We first came across this highly capable company last year when we were bowled over by their excellently realised production of ‘Arabian Nights’. We were then even further impressed this year when they returned with that show and two new ones too: ‘Storyteller Storyteller’ and ‘A Pocket Full Of Grimms’, and demonstrated again the same high quality of performance, cleverly thought out and sequenced scripting, and beautifully aesthetically pleasing and inventive set design. What a wonderful way to introduce your children to the theatre. Our next winners are Story Pocket Theatre.

4. Sofie Hagen
When our next winner turned up to perform a run of her debut Fringe hour earlier this month, she was expecting to perform in a 70 seater space. Unfortunately someone had neglected to build the venue. Luckily another performance space was found, but its capacity was more than 300; unexpectedly playing a room that big might have proved too much for some, but this comedian rose to the challenge, filling those seats again and again, and performing a show that earned full marks from our reviewer, who was impressed by her consistency, and her well crafted yet relaxed and accessible set, pronouncing it a “gem” of the Free Fringe. Our next winner is Sofie Hagen.

5. Contemporary Theatre Of Scotland
Our next winners are a new theatre company whose 2015 Fringe project tackles a serious topic in an uncompromising way, and whose aim as a company is to bring such social and political issues to the stage. Exploring the problem of post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers, the show elicited no small amount of praise from our impressed reviewer. “It’s an excellently rendered look into the beaten mind of a war-trodden soldier”, he wrote, commending the “outstanding script and thoughtful direction”. For their impressive Festival debut ‘The Last Kill’, our next winners are Contemporary Theatre Of Scotland.

6. Familia de la Noche
At Fringe 2013, the recipients of our next award thrust their way into the collective ThreeWeeks consciousness with ‘The Greatest Liar In All The World’, a show which wowed our reviewer, who pronounced its blend of shadow theatre, masks, music and magic to be “flawless”. Two years on, and another of our reviewers was blown away by their 2015 show ‘The Very Grey Matter Of Edward Blank’, which she considered an “extraordinary” piece of work. Commending all aspects, from set design to consistently brilliant performances, she concluded: “A look at just how colourful the dark parts of our minds can be, this nightmarish fantasy might keep you up past your bedtime”. Our next winners are Familia De La Noche.

7. John Hinton
Here at ThreeWeeks, we love science. We love good theatre. We love good actors. And we love any actor who manages to write, perform and complete a trilogy of plays within a few short years at the Edinburgh Festival. We are even more impressed when that actor performs all three plays during just one Fringe. Over the last few years, our next winner has been putting together an informative ‘scientrilogy’ of plays, in each one portraying a different giant of science. He played Charles Darwin in ‘The Origin Of Species By Means Of Natural Selection Or The Survival Of (R)evolutionary Theories In The Face Of Scientific And Ecclesiastical Objections: Being A Musical Comedy About Charles Darwin (1809-1882)’; he played Albert Einstein in ‘Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking’, and he played Marie Curie in ‘The Element In The Room: A Radioactive Musical Comedy About The Death And Life Of Marie Curie ‘. Phew. He deserves a medal. Or, perhaps, a ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award. Our next winner is John Hinton.

8. Buzz Brass
We can’t help feeling that the history of music can be a dry old topic in the wrong hands, yet it really is the sort of thing one would like to communicate in an accessible way to children. Step forward our next winners, who this year have been doing just that. “This show is great fun”, said our reviewer, “musically excellent and completely enjoyable for both children and adults, who will enjoy the daftness whilst romping through a tour of the history of music. The musical examples are played and acted out by a first class brass quintet, with a likeable flair for humour”. We’re a team that includes music lovers and child-rearers, so we are all inclined to approve, and to agree with our writer’s conclusion: “I can’t praise this show highly enough for imparting sophisticated information in a way that both teaches and amuses children”, she declared. “It demystifies the musical mystique with a big smile!” Our next winners are Buzz Brass for ‘The History Of Music’.

9. Sh!t Theatre
Our next winners have been hard at work for a number of years now, creating important, politicised yet entertaining work. The topics they tackle are weighty, serious, pertinent, concerning – and these performers manage it in an uncompromising yet hilarious way. In this year’s show, said our reviewer, the duo set out to “deconstruct the way women are presented by the media, wielding comedy like a hammer against the ridiculous constructs and constraints that are associated with womanhood. Visual, physical, frantically funny and unapologetically forceful, this show isn’t just a must see, attendance should be compulsory.” Our next winners are Sh!t Theatre.

10. Stuart Bowden
And so to our last award. If you search the ThreeWeeks archives for the name of our next winner, it throws up a sizeable fistful of enthusiastic 4 and 5 star reviews, because he’s been a huge favourite with our reviewers ever since he first came to our attention. “Full of wit and charm, this is low-fi DIY storytelling theatre at it’s very best”, said one review. Another praised his work’s “sparks of surreal brilliance and moments of touching melancholy”. And it goes on: “Richly emotional, quietly beautiful, and an absolute joy to watch”. “ A courageous and lyrical hour of joy”. I think we at ThreeWeeks HQ are all agreed that he is one of the true stars in our Festival firmament. Our final winner is Stuart Bowden.

Words: Caroline Moses – Award presentation pictures: Suzy Moosa