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Edinburgh Comedy Awards sees hike in eligible shows

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Edinburgh’s free fringe is responsible for a massive rise in the number of shows eligible for the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, according to awards founder Nica Burns.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s event in Edinburgh, Burns said that the number of shows eligible for the awards has risen to 505 from last year’s previous high of 430.

To be eligible, a show must last at least 50 minutes, have at least eight performances on the fringe and not be an established “star”.

Burns told The Stage: “There is a slight increase across the board, but the really noticeable one comes from the Free Fringe. That is definitely a good thing and that is why I think it is going to be the year of newcomers. They might not necessarily be young comedians, they might also be people trying it for the first time, but it gives them the chance to have a go at a full hour without exposing themselves to the possibility of losing seven or eight grand up front.”

Differentiation between those shows eligible for the £5,000 Best Newcomer Award – for those performing their first full-length show – and those eligible for the main £10,000 award will be made during the judging process. The shortlists will be announced on Wednesday August 24 with the winners on Saturday August 27.