The Midas Touch

Feature in Issue 13-3 | Autumn 2001

What happens to Total Theatre Award winners after they leave Edinburgh? Rebecca Brown gives us a run-down of the fate of three of last year’s winners. And, in case you are wondering, the awards will be back with a bang for 2002.

Theatre O: Three Dark Tales

Theatre O (formerly Generally Better Productions) have attracted a lot of attention since winning a Total Theatre Award in Edinburgh 2000. In January this year they set off on a three and a half month UK tour, before jetting off to Brazil in April for the Cultura Inglesa festival; indeed they have attracted a great deal of international interest since their successful run in Edinburgh last year, which also gained them management for the company, helping the performers to be more free to concentrate on their high-energy performance. Early August saw them end a three-week run at the Barbican Pit, as part of the BITE season, leading them straight into this year’s Edinburgh stint, once again in the Assembly Rooms’ Edinburgh Suite. They were also one of 25 shows to be invited to perform in the British Council’s theatre showcase, attended by up to 160 international promoters, which will no doubt lead to more exciting opportunities for this most promising of young companies. As it is, they only have a short time to recover before jetting off once more this October, this time to New York, which will host them for a ten-week run, then on to Australia and New Zealand. With these dates secured and plenty of other potential interest in the pipeline for these young performers, the world, it would seem, really is their oyster.

Shunt: The Ballad of Bobby Francois

Shunt continue to be a very proactive young company, attracting interest wherever they go; with projects large and small under their belts and on the horizon, they’re certainly shaping up as a company with staying power. Their increasingly popular cabaret performances continue on alternate months at their London base – the characterful railway arch in Bethnal Green. They were invited to take part in the London International Mime Festival in January, and made their mark on the Drome venue in London Bridge, drawing new audiences and old faithfuls alike over their three-week run of Ballad. They were commissioned by Croydon Clocktower to perform two shows in Croydon’s town centre – alarming shoppers in the Whitgift shopping centre with flood warnings. A few Shunt company members launched a smaller scale project, Pink-Orthodox, at Riverside Studios for three weeks in June this year, and similar small projects continue to develop in the pipeline. The company are currently creating a new series of Sunday cabaret evenings for BAC’s OctoberFest (formerly the British Festival of Visual Theatre) in a damp East London railway arch – promising ‘comedy, film, dance, circus and blown fuses’. The company are already looking to next summer with ideas for a full-scale project, so they continue to steamroll ahead; their enthusiasm doesn’t seem to falter, and the ideas just keep coming.

Spymonkey: Stiff - Undertaking Undertaking

Spymonkey have been touring with their new show Cooped, and as with their hilarious hit show Stiff last year did a run of preview performances before Edinburgh, at venues including BAC and the Wimbledon Theatre Studio. Cooped was premiered at the Komedia in home town Brighton before moving on to the Pleasance Courtyard in Edinburgh, with a second Edinburgh run for Stiff at the same venue. They too were one of the companies invited to perform at the British Council Showcase at this year’s Fringe. This year has also seen them at BAC, Riverside Studios and the South Bank’s Purcell Rooms for the London International Mime Festival – not to mention Finland, Hungary, America, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, Syria and Canada.

So as you can see, our Total Theatre Award winners have gone from strength to strength in one short year. The awards were sorely missed at this year’s Fringe – but they will be back next year. If you think that your company may be eligible for an award and are performing in Edinburgh 2002, then watch this space for information on nominations.

Rebecca Brown is a member of Ariel Teatr, whose show A Little Requiem for Kantor was another of last year’s award-winning productions.

Referenced Artists

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-3
p. 22