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New Edinburgh Fringe award announced for show that best explores mental health

Shows from all categories in the Fringe programme are eligible for the Mental Health Fringe Award (iStock)
Shows from all categories in the Fringe programme are eligible for the Mental Health Fringe Award (iStock)

THE Mental Health Foundation will present a new award at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe in recognition of the show that most successfully explores the subject of mental health.

The Mental Health Fringe Award is supported by the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, the Edinburgh Fringe, and the Scotsman. Shows from all categories in the Fringe programme are eligible.

Andrew Eaton-Lewis, arts lead for the Mental Health Foundation (Scotland) and Edinburgh festivals editor for the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, said: “Mental health has been a prominent theme at the Edinburgh Fringe for the past couple of years, thanks to memorable and acclaimed shows like Bryony Kimmings’ Fake It Til You Make It, Felicity Ward’s 50% More Likely To Die and Richard Gadd’s Monkey See Monkey Do.

“We hope this award will encourage artists of all kinds to continue to make this kind of work, which is really important in opening up conversations about what can be very difficult and personal subjects, and which can often have a transformative effect on public attitudes towards mental health.”

The winner will be announced at the Scotsman Fringe Awards on Friday 25 August, and will also be invited to return to Scotland as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival in May 2018, in partnership with the Tron’s annual Mayfesto programme.

The members of the judging panel include: playwright Alan Bissett, strategic programme manager for NHS Lothian Linda Irvine; artistic director of the Tron Theatre Andy Arnold; playwright and critic Rebecca Monks; and theatre critic Mark Fisher. A shortlist will be decided by the judges in consultation with Scotsman reviewers and announced during the final week of the Fringe.

Andrew Eaton-Lewis said: “We have already identified a list of shows at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe that explicitly address mental health, but it will also be fascinating to see how the subject comes up in other shows across the festival, given the anxious times that we are living in.”

Fringe companies who think their show should be considered for the award are invited to contact Andrew directly at aeaton-lewis@mentalhealth.org.uk.

 

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