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Lyn Gardner and Salt show among Total Theatre Awards winners

Lyn Gardner. Photo: The Guardian Lyn Gardner. Photo: The Guardian
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Critic Lyn Gardner and performer Selina Thompson are among the winners of this year’s Total Theatre Awards at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thompson won an award for innovation, experimentation and playing with form for her show Salt, about her experiences retracing one of the routes of the transatlantic ‘Slave Triangle’, which is showing at Summerhall.

Two other Summerhall shows also won in the innovation, experimentation and playing with form category, including Palmyra by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas, as well as Our Carnal Hearts by Rachel Mars.

The winners were announced in a ceremony on August 24 at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Edinburgh, hosted by performance collective Figs in Wigs.

One-man show Five Encounters on a Site Called Craigslist from YesYesNoNo, which is showing at Zoo, won the Total Theatre Award for an emerging company/artist.

Other shows to be awarded included Gandini Juggling’s Sigma in the physical/visual theatre category and Fauna in association with Aurora Nova and Follow the Rabbit in the circus category.

Oona Doherty’s Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus, showing at Dance Base, won the Total Theatre and the Place Award for Dance, while Liz Aggiss’ “physical commentary on cultural mores, forays and sexual taboos” Slap and Tickle was given the judges’ discretionary award.

Gardner, who is associate editor of The Stage, was presented with the significant contribution award for her journalism work on the fringe.

Over the course of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, 28 peer assessors for Total Theatre, comprising artists, producers, programmers, curators, critics and academics, assessed 538 shows across the first 11 days of the festival. From this, a shortlist of 23 nominated shows was announced.

The winners were then decided by a panel of 20 judges, which included the Times critic Donald Hutera, senior producer at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatres Kerrie Burke-Avery, and theatre officer at Creative Scotland Jaine Lumsden.

Co-directors of the awards Jo Crowley and Becki Haines said: “This year’s awards recognise exceptional artists creating gentle, bold, risk-taking and visionary work that is diverse, inclusive and accessible.

“It highlights the vital role theatre plays in communicating, engaging and opening up space for shared experiences. The artistic voices across this festival continue to provide a lens for audiences to understand one another better in an increasingly divided world.”

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