Traverse heads first round of Fringe Firsts

The Traverse has dominated the first round of Scotsman Fringe Firsts, winning three of the seven awards given out for new writing in the first week of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The Traverse’s awards went to Futureproof by Linda Radley, the company’s own co-production with Dundee Rep, the NTS production of The Wheel by Zinnie Harris and the TEAM’s production of Mission Drift.

Speaking to The Stage after the awards ceremony, the Scotsman’s chief critic Joyce McMillan said: “In Mission Drift and the Wheel there is immense ambition to try and get to grips with the really big picture of what goes wrong with our society. The TEAM are brilliant political analysts, and Zinnie Harris is just relentless in her determination to understand what happens in war and the damage that it does.”

Elsewhere, The Pleasance picked up two awards, for Blind Summit Theatre’s puppet play The Table and Analogue’s 2401 Objects. At the Gilded Balloon, Phil Nichol, who in previous years has won both an Edinburgh Comedy Award and a Stage Award, was honoured for Somewhere Beneath It All, A Small Fire Burns Still written by Dave Florez. The final award went to Dancebase with the New Play Company’s Silent.

Commenting on trends at this year’s fringe, McMillan added: “There is a theme about a fear of everything becoming too standardised. Grid Iron’s What Remains does it by interrogating the authoritarian structures of science and how they force people into a certain mould. I think 2401 objects does that, but in an incredibly gentle beautiful way.

“Linda Radley’s Futureproof comes at it from another angle. It is about whether we now have a culture which struggles to tolerate physical difference. Even if it says does, aesthetically we are becoming more and more addicted to the perfect norm. I think it is a very clever and beautifully written play about that. I think it will live on and have other productions.”

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