Our reviewer loved Hannah Chutzpah's spoken word show at Fringe 2014 declaring that it was so empowering "I left at least three inches taller". The show has evolved since, and returns for this year's Free Fringe. We caught up with Hannah to find out more about her poetry and the themes of her show.

ThreeWeeks' Chris Cooke chats to Hannah about her show here
Look out for the preview edition of ThreeWeeks arriving through the letterboxes of Edinburgh, and at all key Festival venues, over the next few days.

Inside: Stuart Bowden, Maddy Anholt, Linda Cattaneo, Karen Koren, Penny Ashton, Shelley Mitchell, The Dead Secrets, House Of Blakewell, LetLuce, Will Pickvance, Matthew Harvey, Jennie Benton Smith, Stewart Francis, Yianni, Andrew Ryan, Máire Clerkin, Chris Martin and 81 show recommendations.

Check out the online version or download a PDF copy here
It's the TW Podcast at the Edinburgh Festival. This week, as the Festival gets properly up and running again, ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Chris Cooke chats to Harry Deansway about his 'Audience With' show, and Lucy Danser and Dan Simpson about 'Stand Up & Slam'. Plus hear show snippets from Laughing Stock, Tom Allen and Grey & Green Theatre.

Listen and subscribe to the TW Podcast here
"Science comedy phenomenon" no less, Festival Of The Spoken Nerd are back, and this time "they're off the chart!" Which got us thinking. What would the Fringe look like in chart form? The comedy nerds have the answer. Look out for their Fringe Charts in each edition of ThreeWeeks this year, plus here's one to get you started.

Check out the first Fringe Chart here
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Again - we offer keen discounts on longer bookings with these adverts, so please email to discuss your booking.
There is no shortage of awards to be won at the Edinburgh Festival each year, each focused on a different kind of show or performer, though particularly interesting is that run by Amnesty International, and I'm not just saying that because it's the one my show is eligible for.

The human rights charity had always had a sizable presence at the Festival, in a campaigning role, but it decided to launch its own Freedom Of Expression Award nearly fifteen years ago, in response, says Amnesty Scotland Programme Director Naomi McAuliffe, "to the evolution of the Fringe programme so that it featured many powerful performances with a strong human rights theme. We felt that these productions should be honoured for the important work they do, and the messages they carry beyond the performance space".

Explaining the ongoing aim of the award, McAuliffe tells ThreeWeeks "we aim to recognise an Edinburgh Fringe production that not only presents a strong and relevant human rights message, but also is of an exceptionally high artistic value. Shows are selected by a panel of Amnesty experts and judges, and productions are also encouraged to nominate themselves".

Over the years the list of eligible shows has only got longer, so that now, McAuliffe adds, "we regularly have a hotly-contested long list of more than 90 shows which are eventually whittled down to an amazing short list of six productions that are so good it is a real challenge to choose a winner".

"Last year, Mark Thomas' Cuckooed took the top honour in another wonderful year for human rights-themed theatre", she says, "as it asked frighteningly pertinent questions about the nature of surveillance and the limits it places on our freedom of expression at a time when our right to privacy is being steadily eroded. The judges felt the powerful way Mark Thomas presented those ideas on stage also demonstrated the huge personal and emotional cost of these infringements on our freedom".

Having put together this year's long list already, it was interesting to know whether McAuliffe had spotted any themes in the programme from a human rights perspective."Surveillance and privacy issues are featured again" she notes, "understandably, given every day seems to bring a news story on how we are being spied on by our on government".

"There are some productions focused on transgender and identity issues, which is significant. Important rights issues around poverty and economics can also be found in the line-up. We are also impressed by the number of productions tackling race issues. Violence against women is a returning theme and will continue to be – this year we have also a few productions highlighting children's rights".

Joyce McMillan from The Scotsman, Neil Cooper from The Herald, Catherine Love, who writes for The Guardian and The Stage, and independent researcher Stephanie Knight join with McAuliffe to pick the overall winner, while a team of volunteer reviewers help ensure every eligible show is seen.

What are the judges looking for? "Good theatre with a strong and compelling human rights message. Production values must also be high. The rights element should be thought through and feel authentic. Sometimes, human rights becomes a focus by surprise while the piece is being devised and that can also feel real to the audience. The aesthetic has to be of a high standard and the productions have to engage the audience. If a show helps us to reflect ourselves in today's world then it has succeeded. The reaction to a play with a strong rights message is instinctive".

As we get close to completing our Three To See recommendations for 2015, there's still time for ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Caro Moses to recommend something a little different from the theatre programme.

Murmel Murmel (pictured)
Right, so, 'Murmel Murmel' is a play by Swiss artist Dieter Roth featuring 178 pages of dialogue using only one word, 'Murmel', and was, quite understandably, considered unstagable. There's always one though, isn't there? In this case, actor/director Herbert Fritsch, who in 2012 premiered his production of the piece, an apparently side-splittingly hilarious, slapstick-infused celebration of nonsense. Sounds extraordinary, and definitely worth checking out.
King's Theatre, from 28 until 30 Aug

Fills Monkey: Incredible Drum Show
It's listed in theatre, but the blurb, and indeed, the title, make this sound like it's probably a concert. It's more than that though; as well as the drumming (which is Incredible, obv), there's choreography, mime, sound effects, unexpected props, and a huge dollop of humour. Offering a "mischievous drumming extravaganza", the duo – Sébastien Rambaud and Yann Coste – have received lots of critical acclaim in their native France, and I expect a similar reaction here.
Pleasance Courtyard, from 5 until 31 Aug

Gods Are Fallen And All Safety Gone
I came across this piece of new writing earlier in the year when it was staged in London, and was intrigued by it then. What is it? "An investigation into what happens when we discover that our parents are flawed human beings, and that at some point, sooner than we think, they are suddenly going to disappear from our lives". The blurb adds that the play "presents a lifetime of conversations, condensed into one hour". But what makes it really different is that a mother and daughter from the community join the cast of the show for each performance. I would really like to see how that works.
Summerhall, from 17 until 29 Aug
We are getting close to the end of Caro's pre-Festival Three To See tips now, but let's look a little further ahead into the festival month to recommend some events happening at this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival.

To Read Or Not to Read
There are so many celebs appearing at this year's Book Festival – Jesse Jackson, Meera Syal, Alan Cumming and David Hare, to name but four – that it would be easy to get all star struck and forget that some of the best stuff to be found in Charlotte Square this August is the stuff that doesn't necessarily involve the big names. Like this, an event that deals with how we can help young reluctant readers to get past the barriers that keep them from enjoying books. It's an important issue, and one which will no doubt be dealt with brilliantly by authors Frank Cottrell Boyce and Keith Gray, plus publisher Mairi Stoke from Barrington Kidd.
Garden Theatre, 17 Aug

Mary Costello And Han Kang
I must confess to being initially attracted to this event because Han Kang's book is called 'The Vegetarian', and the title caught my eye because I am a herbivore. However, then I looked into it a bit more, read some reviews, and put the book right at the top of my to-read-list. Then, of course, I read all about Mary Costello's acclaimed debut novel 'Academy Street', and decided that I had to put that one at the top of my list as well. Which is it to be? Perhaps I will toss a coin. But either way, I would love to spend an hour in the company of these inspiring writers.
Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre, 16 Aug

George The Poet (pictured)
I keep thinking that spoken word has become super popular in the last few years, and spoken word just keeps confirming it by becoming ever more popular and edgy. One of its highly successful exponents is George The Poet, who addresses social and political issues, and earlier this year released a debut publication, 'Introducing George The Poet: Search Party: A Collection of Poems'. His influences include Dizzee Rascal, Tupac Shakur, Maya Angelou and George Watsky... so that may, or, er, may not, give you something of an idea of what to expect...
Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, 21 Aug
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