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Julie Hesmondhalgh is first winner of The Stage Edinburgh Awards 2018

Julie Hesmondhalgh. Photo: Alex Brenner
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Julie Hesmondhalgh has won the first of this year’s The Stage Edinburgh Awards, for her performance in The Greatest Play in the History of the World at the Traverse Theatre.

Written by her husband, Ian Kershaw, the play is directed by Raz Shaw.

The Stage critic Tim Bano said: “Watching Julie Hesmondhalgh is like being taken back to story time at nursery. She creates the warm world of the play effortlessly, bringing these characters and places to life with care and love and oodles of energy. It’s nothing but a pleasure to experience.”

Hesmondhalgh said: “It’s a piece that is very close to my heart as my husband wrote for me as a present. It’s a real team effort between me, him, the director Raz, and the entire creative team. I just feel that it’s a nice nod to all the work we’ve done on it.”

She added: “I hope it’s the start of a bit of an exciting adventure with this play, because the idea always was to tour with it for the rest of our lives – hopefully this will enable us to do that. I am really, really thrilled about it.”

Natasha Tripney, reviews editor at The Stage, said Hesmondhalgh brings the play to life with “delicacy, charm and warmth”.

“She’s a delight to watch,” she added.

The Stage Edinburgh Awards, which recognise outstanding performances at the Edinburgh Fringe, are in their 23rd year. They are awarded throughout August and are not defined by category. Winners can be solo performers or an ensemble.

The Greatest Play in the History of the World… review at Traverse, Edinburgh – ‘superb’