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Edinburgh in the spotlight

Festival ends on a high with increase in attendances

Siro AThe 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe played to 5.24% more visitors who attended 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows in 313 venues.

The increase follows a 19% increase in attendances at the International Festival, attributed in part to the absence of alternative events such as major sporting tournaments.

Ahead of the final performances the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society announced that by Monday afternoon an estimated 2,298,090 tickets had been issued for shows.

Kath Mainland, chief executive of the Society said: “Once again artists and audiences have travelled from across the globe to be a part of this unique cultural event.

“With incredible talent from 49 countries taking part this year, the Fringe has once again demonstrated itself to be both truly international and profoundly Scottish. The 2015 season has firmly cemented Edinburgh’s reputation as the world’s leading festival city.”

One new initiative this year was a scheme launched by the Society in collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council and Virgin Money aimed at providing complimentary tickets to Fringe shows for children and young people who are being cared for by City of Edinburgh Council.

The project called Access Fringe – Looked After Children made £173,172.00 worth of tickets from 233 shows in 38 venues available to children and young people whose circumstances would not normally allow them to participate in cultural activity.

Other highlights in 2015 included the participation of 14 new venues across the city. These included the return of the famous St. Stephen’s Church in Stockbridge under the banner of Momentum Venues, Underbelly launching their Circus Hub on the Meadows in the city’s southside and SpaceUK debuting a new three floor venue called SpaceTriplex in The Prince Philip Building on Hill Place.

The Fringe Society unveiled two new commercial partnerships in 2015; with Airbnb and the Caledonian Sleeper. Both these relationships offered new opportunities for Fringe participants and audiences.

The Royal Mail celebrated this year’s Fringe by issuing a special postmark, applied to stamped UK mail from 07-31 August. Royal Mail’s postmarks are reserved for special occasions and are used to recognise significant events, historical anniversaries or support of charity. It was the first time in the Royal Mail’s 500 year history that a festival has been featured on a postmark.

Award-winning comedian and theatre-maker Bryony Kimmings delivered the 2015 Fringe Central Welcome Address to participants, organised by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. The welcome address, designed to welcome and inspire participants, was attended by a record number of people.

Kimmings, an associate artist at Soho Theatre and a Fringe participant herself, encouraged participants to take advantage of over 85 free events hosted throughout August, to help develop performance skills, expand networks and advance careers.

A wide range of awards were on offer throughout the festival organised by a range of organisations. Euan’s Guide, the disabled access review website launched their Fringe awards, acknowledging a show and a venue for their outstanding efforts to include disabled audiences at this year’s Fringe.

Full list of awards:

Allen Wright Award
Winner – Griselda Murray Brown
Special Commendation – Holly Williams
Special Commendation – George Sully

Amused Moose Comedy Awards
Winner: Richard Gadd – Waiting for Gaddot (Banshee Labyrinth)
People’s Champion: Jess Robinson – The Rise of Mighty Voice (Pleasance)

The Asian Arts Awards
Winner – Best Production: The Cherry Orchard: Beyond the Truth – Theater Margot (Korea) (C Venues)
Winner – Best Directing: Ms. Shubhra Bhardwaj – Ticket to Bollywood – Ferriswheel Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. (New Town Theatre)

Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence in association with Sweet Venues
Winner: Police Cops – This Theatre – Zoo Venues

The Broadway Baby Bobby Award
Winners: Captain Morgan 1: The Sands of Time and Captain Morgan 2: The Sea of Souls – Ben Behrens / Tap Tap Theatre (Pleasance)
Richard III – Brite Theatre – Just Festival
Luke McQueen: Double Act – Luke McQueen / The Invisible Dot Ltd. (Pleasance)

Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award
Winner: Key Change – Open Clasp Theatre Company in association with Live Theatre (Summerhall)

Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe
Darren Walsh (Pleasance)

Edinburgh Comedy Poster Awards
Panel Prize: Tom Parry – Yellow Tshirt (Just the Tonic)
Audience Award: Michael Stranney & Olaf Falafel – Expect the Unexporcupine (Cowgatehead)

Euan’s Guide Accessible Fringe Awards
Winner: The Solid Life of Sugar Water (Pleasance)
Runner Up: Wendy Hoose by Johnny McKnight (Assembly Rooms)
Accessible Venue Award: Dance Base

The Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards
Best Comedy Show – Sam Simmons – Spaghetti for Breakfast (Underbelly)
Best Newcomer – Sofie Hagen – Bubblewrap (Liquid Room Annexe)
Panel Prize – Karen Koren

Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Awards
The Frantic Canticles of Little Brother Fish (Bedlam Theatre)

2015 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award
Lungs (Summerhall)
Pip Utton…Playing Maggie (Assembly Rooms)

The Herald Angel Award

Winners – Week 1
Correction (Zoo Venues)
Fake it till you Make it (Traverse Theatre)
Little Devil Award:The artists and facilitators of Underbelly Circus Hub

Winners – Week 2
Penny Arcade: Longing Lasts Longer (Underbelly)
Aceh Meukondore (C Venues)

Winners – Week 3
Herald Archangel Award: Maureen Beattie for The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy  (Assembly Festival)
Herald Angel Award: Cathal McConnell
Little Devil Award: Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (Traverse Theatre)

Holden Street Theatres Award
A Gambler’s Guide to Dying (Traverse Theatre)
Labels (Pleasance)

The Malcom Hardee Awards
Comic Originality – Michael Brunstrom
Cunning Stunt Award – Matt Roper
Act Most likely to make a million quid – Laurence Owen

The Scottish Arts Club Award for Best Scottish Play

Swallow – Stef Smith (Traverse Theatre)

The Scotsman Fringe First Awards

Winners – Week 1
A Gambler’s Guide to Dying (Traverse Theatre)
Going Viral  (Summerhall)
The Christians (Traverse Theatre)
Swallow  (Traverse Theatre)
The Deliverance (Assembly Festival)
Underneath (Dance Base)
The History of the World Through Banalities (Summerhall)

Winners – Week 2
Light Boxes (Summerhall)
Raz (Assembly Festival)
Citizen Puppet (Pleasance)
Labels (Pleasance)
Tar Baby  (Gilded Balloon)
Trans Scripts (Pleasance)
The Great Downhill Journey of Little Tommy (Summerhall)

Winners – Week 3
A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride (Traverse Theatre)
Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (Traverse Theatre)
Penny Arcade: Longing Lasts Longer (Underbelly)
What I Learned From Johnny Bevan (Summerhall)
A Reason to Talk (Summerhall)

Primary Times Children’s Choice Award
The Voice Thief (Summerhall)

So You Think You’re Funny?
Luca Cupani: Still Falling (Heroes @ Bob’s Blundabus)

The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence

Winners – Week 1
Molly Vevers – Ross and Rachel (Assembly Festival)
Aoife Duffin – A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing (Traverse Theatre)

Winners – Week 2
Andy Gray – Willie & Sabastian (Gilded Balloon)
Sean Michael Verey – Tonight with Donny Stixx (Pleasance)
1972: The Future of Sex (Zoo Venues)

Winners – Week 3
Ensemble from Police Cops – This Theatre (Zoo Venues)
Maureen Beattie – The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy  (Assembly Festival)
Ensemble from UKIP! The Musical  (theSpaceUK)
Lizzie Clarke – Molly  (Pleasance)
Ensemble from Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (Traverse Theatre)

Total Theatre Awards

Emerging Company/Artist: The Beanfield (theSpaceUK)
Physical/Visual Theatre: Oog (Dance Base)
Innovation/Experimentation & Playing with Form: Can I Start Again Please (Summerhall)
Portraits In Motion (Summerhall)
Total Theatre & The Place Award for Dance: Vertical Influences (Assembly Festival)
Total Theatre & Jacksons Lane Award for Circus: B-Orders (Underbelly) and
Smoke and Mirrors (Assembly Festival)

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