New York company The TEAM has won this year’s Edinburgh International Festival Fringe prize for its production Mission Drift, performed at the Traverse theatre.
Team, The Theatre of the Emerging American Moment, will now get £10,000 to develop an idea and return to present it as a work in progress at next year’s EIF. The ultimate aim of the prize is to develop a production which will appear in the EIF’s main programme.
Director of the EIF Jonathan Mills explained that the prize is “an offer and the opportunity for the development of a project”. He added: “It is a prize for a potential where we see an artist from the fringe would gain from an association with us.”
Last year’s joint winners Meow Meow and Cora Bissett each presented a work in progress at this year’s EIF. Mills revealed that one of them has been invited to take their ideas to the next stage.
Mills explained: “We are sufficiently interested to start a negotiation with one of the artists about an idea that might turn into a project in the future. I won’t say any more than that, until the negotiations are in an advanced stage.”
Speaking to The Stage about this year’s award, The TEAM’s artistic director Rachel Chavkin said that the company had already been talking extensively about how it can best use the award. Although they have two possible projects already under development, talks with the EIF have led them onto a new path.
Chavkin said: “Right now I am calling it Primer For a Failed Superpower. I don’t know whether it will be the work we end up working on but it is something we will be developing. So we will launch into the messy, messy collaborative writing process all over again, whatever the work is.”
Admitting that the financial element of the prize is not huge, she explained that it will be a catalyst towards creating new work. The company has a strong association with Edinburgh, having made its name on the fringe after first appearing there in 2005, after attending a fringe road show.
Chavkin explained that £10,000 will cover accommodation and flight costs to return to Edinburgh for a week next summer: “It will mean that the company is committed to fund-raising and creating a work that is ready to present during that week next August.
“It is a significant amount even though financially it is not going to cover everything, it means we are going to be entering into next August with a platform for a lot of intention.”