Each year, since 2011, the Scottish Arts Club has awarded a prize for the best Scottish Theatre production appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival during August.
The prize has become affectionately known as The Flying Artichoke, after the unique bronze sculpture presented to the winners as part of the awards ceremony.
Scottish-based theatre companies and productions with a Scottish writer, director or cast are eligible.
The judges for this award are all drawn from the Scottish theatre world.
A short list of productions is released during the Fringe and the winners are generally announced at the beginning of the final week, thereby giving SAC members the opportunity to see these productions before the Fringe closes.
An awards ceremony takes place in the Scottish Arts Club during the final week of the Fringe, at which the winners and runners-up are presented with their prizes.
You can get involved. Each year, ‘Spotters’ from the club are required to aid the process of viewing every one of the huge number of Scottish productions at the Fringe.
[This award was initially set up in 2011 in partnership with edinburghguide.com, who remained involved for the first four years. We are grateful for their help and advice during that period].
The judging panel have become increasingly aware that there are talented young individual theatre makers/actors appearing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe who, at the start of their career, have worked with total commitment and dedication and scratched and saved every penny to become part of the festival. They feel strongly this talent deserves public recognition and support for the future and in 2016 will initiate another award, “The Scottish Arts Club Bright Spark Award” in partnership with “The Scottish Arts Club Theatre Award.”
"The Flying Artichoke", an original bronze sculpture by Edinburgh artist, Duncan Robertson
This is the sixth year of the Award and once again the judging panel, who personally saw many Scottish Theatre productions, were impressed by the evidence of both emerging and established talent within the Scottish Theatre scene and the overall high standard of production. This year the Scottish Arts Club instituted a new award, "Bright Spark" for emerging Scottish Talent.
Expensive Shit, written and directed by Adura Onashile, a Scottish Theatre Producers production in association with the Traverse Theatre.
Delay Detach, written by Joanna Alpern, directed by Joanna Bowman and produced by Sinder Theatre, performed at Greenside @ Infirmary Street.
Julia Carstairs, Director of Playback, a Stag Hart Production at Paradise in Augustines.
This is the fifth year of the Award and once again the judging panel, who personally saw over 60 Scottish Theatre productions, were impressed by the evidence of both emerging and established talent within the Scottish Theatre scene and the overall high standard of production.
The Judges are proud of the fact that, over the years, they have spotted the potential in small and medium scale productions and that previous winners have all toured nationally and internationally.
Swallow, written by Stef Smith, directed by Orla O’Loughlin, produced by and performed at the Traverse Theatre.
The judges felt that its exploration of the extremes of modern living was brilliantly executed.
Light Boxes, adapted and directed by Finn den Hertog, produced by Grid Iron Theatre Company, performed at Summerhall.
The Gospel according to Jesus Queen of Heaven, written and performed by Jo Clifford, directed by Susan Worsfold, performed at Summerhall.
Judging Panel: Catherine Robins (Chair), Joyce Caplan, John Scott Moncrieff, Liz Smith, Anna Stapleton, Neil Weir.
A strong field and a worthy winner
Donald Robertson is not a Stand Up Comedian, written and performed by Gary McNair, directed by Gareth Nicholls, performed at the Traverse Theatre.
The judges described the winner as ‘a tale of Stand-up Comedy with a sharp twist that both startles and satisfies’.
Janis Joplin; Full Tilt, written by Peter Arnott, directed by Cora Bissett, produced by Regular Music and NTS, performed at Assembly Checkpoint.
A walk at the edge of the world, written and directed by Nicholas Bone, produced by Magnetic North, performed at Summerhall@Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
The awards were presented by Murray Grigor.
Judging Panel: Catherine Robins (Chair), Irene Brown, Joyce Caplan, Paul Fitzpatrick, John Scott Moncrieff, Liz Smith.
All three plays were supported with funding from the Scottish Government's "Made in Scotland" programme.
HeLa, written and performed by Adura Onashile, directed by Graham Eatough, produced by Iron Oxide, performed at Summerhall.
HeLa, "is an all-consuming tale, spanning race and poverty in 1950s America to current ethical debates surrounding ownership of our DNA."
The panel of five judges, chaired by Catherine Robins, said the play is "a fascinating insight into the interface between science and humanity." The play was originally commissioned by the Edinburgh International Science Festival.
The play was inspired by "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot, involving a cell sample taken by doctors from Henrietta without her permission which led to ground-breaking scientific discoveries -- and the question of who owns DNA.
If these spasms could speak, written and performed by Robert Softley, directed by Sam Rowe, produced in association with The Arches, performed at Pleasance Courtyard.
"an outstanding solo performance about disabled people's bodies, based on touching, surprising and hilarious stories". The judges said it was theatre "really breaking barriers".
Titus, written by Jan Sobrie (English version by Oliver Emanuel), directed by Lu Kemp, produced by Macrobert Arts Centre, performed at Summerhall.
The solo play concerns big lies and small truths, pigs that fall in love, crows that talk and other unlikely incidents. Director Lu Kemp also directed the first Flying Artichoke-winning play, A Thousand Paper Cranes, in 2011.
Judging Panel: Catherine Robins (Chair), Joyce Caplan, Paul Fitzpatrick, John Scott Moncrieff, Liz Smith.
A thrilling production in a strong field.
The Static, written by Davey Anderson, directed by Neil Bettles, produced by ThickSkin, performed at Underbelly Cowgate.
A play that makes you think again about troubled teenagers (and troubled adults, for that matter) and whether medication is really the best solution.
Educating Ronnie, written and directed by Joe Douglas and Gareth Nicholls, produced by Macrobert and Utters in association with High Tide Festival Theatre, performed at Assembly George Square.
Wojtek the bear, written by Raymond Raszkowski Ross, directed by Corinne Harris, produced by Theatre Objektiv, performed at Hill Street Theatre.
Judging Panel: Catherine Robins (Chair), Joyce Caplan, Susannah Armitage, John Scott Moncrieff, Liz Smith.
A thrilling production in a strong field.
One Thousand Paper Cranes, written by Abigail Doherty, directed by Lu Kemp, produced by Catherine Wheels, performed at Assembly George Square Gardens.
The play is based on the true story of two young Japanese survivors of the Hiroshima bomb who try to earn a wish by making 1,000 paper cranes.
"A two hander with a good, taut script in which not a word was wasted. The performances were thoroughly, engaging, and on a number of levels, very moving.
It was a wonderful study of friendship with some entertaining and perceptive characterizations on the side. The actress playing the ambitious athlete, crippled in her prime by nuclear fallout, doubled magnificently as the paper crane making hospital orderly, her colleague striking just the right note as a matron and the stricken athlete's Mother.
Production of the first seven cranes had the audience enraptured, to be followed thrillingly by the strewing and garlanding of the stage with multi-coloured cranes, all crying and to save and celebrate life. The search throughout the auditorium for more paper to help to achieve the craved 1000 was as fun as it was enchanting.
This short show is truly original and of the shortlisted shows that I have seen, is the clear winner." - John Scott Moncrief
Ten Plagues, written by Mark Ravenhill, music by Conor Mitchell, directed by Stewart Laing, performed at Traverse Theatre.
Federer versus Murray, written and directed by Gerda Stevenson, produced by Oran Mor and Assembly, performed at Assembly Hall.
Judging Panel: Catherine Robins (Chair), Joyce Caplan, John Scott Moncrieff, Astrid Sillins, Rachel Clarke.
Scottish Arts Club
24 Rutland Square
+44 (0)131 229 8157
Tuesday - Saturday: 10.30am - 11pm
Tuesday - Saturday: 10.30am - 2pm