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Janet Suzman, David Calvitto and Theatre Ad Infinitum among our Edinburgh awards nominees

Janet Suzman and Khayalethu Anthony in Solomon and Marion. Photo: Jesse Kramer
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Janet Suzman and former winners David Calvitto and Theatre Ad Infinitum are among the nominees for this year’s Stage Awards for Acting Excellence at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Now in their 19th year, The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence are the only honours for professional theatre presented by a national UK publication at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. They include categories for best actor, best actress, best ensemble and best solo performer. Nominations are chosen by The Stage’s Edinburgh review team, which sees hundreds of productions before making its choice.

Of the main venue operators, Underbelly has taken five nominations this year, with Assembly and Pleasance receiving four, the Traverse gaining three nominations, and Bedlam two.

Only one production received a multiple nomination – Solomon and Marion (for best actor and best actress). Meanwhile, among the nominees for best actor is David Calvitto, who has been previously both a nominee and winner on separate occasions. In the best ensemble category, company Theatre Ad Infinitum is also a previous Stage Awards winner.

Stage critic and chair of the judging panel Nick Awde said: “Once again, we’ve seen that the ever-growing range of shows found at Edinburgh each year proves that the fringe is an amazing place to showcase the best of our talents – not only from the British Isles, but also from the rest of the world.”

Fellow judge and critic Thom Dibdin said that “the team was impressed by the high quality of the nominations, and we could have filled our categories twice over”, while Natasha Tripney noted “the particularly strong showing from female performers”.

Honour Bayes said that “performers are showing many more facets thanks to the increasing number of devised shows” and Gerald Berkowitz said “the team was also pleased to make discoveries from the most unexpected of places across the fringe”, with Lauren Paxman confirming that “it’s great to see smaller venues recognised for the high standard of work they are putting on”.

Brian Attwood, editor of The Stage, added: “The Stage Awards have been celebrating the best acting talent at the Edinburgh Fringe for nearly two decades and, yet again, it looks like our expert reviewing team – which covers a huge number of shows during August – has sought out the cream of the crop from across the festival. We look forward to celebrating with all the nominees later this month.”

The winners will be announced at an invitation-only ceremony at Dance Base, 14-16 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, on the evening of Sunday, August 25.

The nominees in full are: 

Best actor 

Khayalethu Anthony for Solomon and Marion (Assembly), Fraser Ayres for Stuart: A Life Backwards (Underbelly), Dugald Bruce-Lockhart for The Three Lions (Pleasance), David Calvitto for The Extremists (Assembly), Patrick O’Kane for Quietly (Traverse)  

Best actress 

Deborah Arnott for Mammoth (Pleasance), Kate Daley for Beeston Rifles (Underbelly), Elizabeth Eves for We Will be Free (Assembly Rooms), Neve McIntosh for The Events (Traverse), Robyn Scott for London Road, Sea Point (Assembly), Janet Suzman for Solomon and Marion (Assembly)

Best ensemble 

Antler Theatre for Where the White Stops (Underbelly), Cie du Veilleur for How to be a Modern Marvel® (Institut Français d’Ecosse), New Wolsey Young Associates for Party Piece (Bedlam), Penn Dixie Productions for The Seer (Underbelly), Theatre Ad Infinitum for Ballad of the Burning Star (Pleasance), Theatre Movement Bazaar for Track 3 (Bedlam)

Best solo performer 

Lucy Ellinson for Grounded (Traverse), Jaye Griffiths for Don’t Wake Me: The Ballad of Nihal Armstrong with Jaye Griffiths (Gilded Balloon), Donal O’Kelly for Donal O’Kelly’s Brace: Fionnuala and Skeffy (Hill Street),  Jeremiah Reynolds for Pirates and Mermaids (Scottish Storytelling Centre), Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Fleabag (Underbelly), Gemma Whelan for Dark Vanilla Jungle (Pleasance)

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