27 August, 2008

Festival Award Winners Announced!

The winner of this year's EIF Award is theatre company Belt Up (Nothing to See/Hear), a bright young theatre company from York who caught the attention of the judges after a lengthy run of hugely popular shows. Members of the company received the award this morning from Festival Director Jonathan Mills (pictured below).
The group had a heavy schedule for their fringe appearances with two shows a day, sometimes three, for 20 consecutive days as well as a month of rehearsals before their first show but their hard work paid off as the company developed a cult following during the fringe. Audience members who enjoyed the shows signed up for text alerts and were notified of 'secret' free shows. These proved so popular that regular audiences of 100 began turning up and friendships were spawned between dedicated fans. As a result the group became one of the hits of the fringe and drew the attention of the Festival Award judges.
The group have now been given £5,000 to develop a new project which will be seen at one of the Behind the Scenes workshops in 2009. Jonathan met with the company yesterday and discussions got underway as to how the Festival can work with the company to develop ideas. The award is provided by Ewan Brown, a long term supporter of Edinburgh International Festival and Vice Chair of the Festival Board. Jonathan Mills was responsible for selecting the award winner after a series of recommendations were made by panel members who were charged with scouring the fringe. The panel members were Roy Cross, Director of the British Council Scotland, critic Neil Cooper, Cindy Sughrue, Chief Executive of Scottish Ballet, Tony Reekie, Director of Imaginate, David Levin, Theatre Director and Sally Hobson, Head of Programme Development at EIF.

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