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The Wardrobe Ensemble, Nilaja Sun and Milly Thomas win The Stage Edinburgh Awards

Milly Thomas, a winner of The Stage Edinburgh Award. Photo: Alex Brenner Milly Thomas, a winner of The Stage Edinburgh Award. Photo: Alex Brenner
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Bristol-based theatre company the Wardrobe Ensemble has won The Stage Edinburgh Award for the second time, following its success for its 2015 production 1972: The Future of Sex.

It was awarded the 2017 prize for its show Education, Education, Education, running at Pleasance Dome until August 27, which looks at the way that state education has changed in the past 20 years.

The Stage’s reviews editor and joint lead critic Natasha Tripney said: “The Wardrobe Ensemble is a company we’ve been following for some time. We nominated its debut show Riot and presented them with The Stage Edinburgh Award for 1972: The Future of Sex. It’s been a pleasure to watch the company develop. The ensemble work is tight and polished and this show is a delight.”

Two other winners of The Stage Edinburgh Award, which recognised excellent acting performances at the festival, have also been announced: Nilaja Sun’s Pike Street and Milly Thomas’ Dust.

Tripney called Pike Street, which runs at Paines Plough’s Roundabout in Summerhall until August 27, “an intricate portrait of a whole neighbourhood”, adding that Sun “brings a whole community to life in an incredibly detailed and layered performance”.

Sun said: “This year’s fringe has been an absolute dream come true. I originally wrote Pike Street to be performed in-the-round but sadly never had the opportunity in America. And now, here I am loving every inch, every breath, every moment of performing at Summerhall in the electric Paines Plough Roundabout. And to be awarded for living out this dream is indeed the completion of a long journey of love, sweat, tears and devotion.”

Thomas, who wrote and performs in Dust at Underbelly Cowgate, said she was “overwhelmed” by the award.

“It’s an honour to be recognised by the awards at all but especially for a performance in the context of mental health. It feels like another step in the direction of smashing stigma, which means the world to me,” she added.

Tripney praised the “bold, emotive” piece, describing Thomas’ performance as “one of great emotional control”. It runs at Underbelly Cowgate until August 27.

The Stage Edinburgh Awards are presented throughout the festival, with winners announced every Monday.