Summerhall Festival 2016: Summerhall scoops an unprecedented 10 out 19 Fringe Firsts

Shows at Summerhall have won ten Fringe Firsts out of a possible 19.

This week judges from the Scotsman newspaper handed out the prize for new writing at the Fringe to Scorch, Growth, One Hundred Homes and Letters to Windsor House.

In the first two weeks of the Fringe, Kieran Hurley’s Heads Up, Ontrorend Goed’s World Without Us and Lemon Bucket Orkestra’s Counting Sheep.

The award, long established, is one of the premier gongs for any Fringe show. Summerhall’s ten is unprecedented.

At the final awards ceremony of the Fringe, in a packed out Spiegeltent in St Andrew’s Square, Scorch also won the Holden Street Theatres award.

I’m Doing This For You, and We Are Bronte were among the nominations for the Brighton Fringe award.

Counting Sheep and Letters to Windsor House were shortlisted for the prestigious Carol Tambor award.

The day before Summerhall shows had won four of the Total Theatre awards, with FK Alexander’s (I Could Go On Singing) Over The Rainbow, Mauro Paccagnella and Alessandro Bernardeschi’s Happy Hour and Big in Belgium’s One Hundred Homes and Bildraum.

Counting Sheep had also been highly commended in the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression award.

Earlier in the week 4D Cinema’s Mamoru Iriguchi won an Asian Arts Award for his direction.

Scotsman chief critic and chairman of the judging panel Joyce McMillan told The Stage: “We have checked hundreds of shows everywhere, we have just worn ourselves out. But basically the Summerhall ones are much better and getting much higher scores from everyone.”

She continued: “It is astonishing to think that a venue which didn’t exist eight years ago is now the venue on the fringe at the moment.”

McMillan added:

“The Summerhall operation this year is almost more of a federation than a venue. If you look at the number of people involved there – Paines Plough with Roundabout, Aurora Nova, Northern Stage – a lot of people have come in under the Summerhall umbrella. It is just such a rambling physical place, apart from anything else, that they can find places to set up shop,”