The Mental Health Fringe Award is to return to the Edinburgh festival for a third year, it has been announced.
The Mental Health Fringe Award 2019 will be presented by the Mental Health Foundation and recognises the Edinburgh Fringe show that most compellingly explores mental health. The award is supported by the Tron Theatre and the Scotsman newspaper; shows from all categories in the Edinburgh Fringe programme are eligible.
The award is presented by the Mental Health Foundation in recognition of the Edinburgh Fringe show that most compellingly explores mental health. The winner will be invited to perform at the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) in May 2020; they will be offered a performance slot in Tron Theatre’s atmospheric 64-seat Changing House space as part of its Mayfesto programme, including technical and marketing support, up to £2k from SMHAF towards the cost of fees, travel and accommodation, and press and marketing support from the festival and the Tron.
The Mental Health Fringe Award has rapidly become a high profile presence at the Edinburgh festival, and was featured last August in the New York Times. Last year’s winner, Electrolyte by Wildcard Theatre, recently completed two month tour of UK and Ireland, including a week-long run at the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, and will return to the Edinburgh Fringe for a second run next month.
The shortlist for the Mental Health Fringe Award is chosen by a judging panel of arts journalists, festival programmers and mental health activists; the winner will be announced at the Scotsman Fringe Awards, the biggest awards ceremony at the Edinburgh Fringe, on Friday 23 August.
Andrew Eaton-Lewis, arts lead for the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Over the past few years, mental health has become a consistent theme at the Edinburgh Fringe, as a wider variety of artists, from comedians like Hannah Gadsby and Richard Gadd, to theatre-makers like Bryony Kimmings and Stef Smith to cabaret performers like Le Gateau Chocolat, create an ever wider range of work exploring the subject. These shows play an important role in challenging stigma and discrimination and we are very much looking forward to what the Fringe has to offer this year.”
James Meteyard, writer of Electrolyte, last year’s Mental Health Fringe Award winner, said: “Mental health is an extremely important subject to be raising awareness around and theatre is a fantastic form to be able to bring new perspectives to the conversation. However it is also a sensitive subject and creating a show tackling the themes was extremely personal and quite daunting as you don't know how it will be received. So winning the Mental Health Fringe Award was a real honour as it showed us that this is a story that needs to be told. This recognition played a part in galvanising us to take this story further and so we partnered with the Mental Health Foundation to embark on a ten-week tour with an outreach programme attached exploring creativity as way of promoting better mental health. As part of this tour we performed at the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, an incredible experience which we wouldn't have had the privilege of without winning this award. Electrolyte will be heading back to the Edinburgh Fringe at Pleasance Forth for the duration of this year’s festival, and we can't wait to see all of the new work raising awareness around mental health.”
Electrolyte, winner of the 2018 Mental Health Fringe Award, is at the Pleasance from 31 July to 26 August as part of this year's Edinburgh Fringe. Book tickets here.