total theatre awards




Honouring work by professional artists and companies at various stages in their professional development, the Total Theatre Awards have an international reputation for rigour and excellence.  Cherished by artists and programmers alike, the Total Theatre Awards involve a rigorous two-stage peer to peer assessment and Judging process, bringing together artists, critics, presenters, producers and academics to debate and award excellence.

Exploring work by professional artists and companies at various stages in their professional development, the Total Theatre Awards process identifies emerging artistic talent and forms whilst noticing shifts and changes in contemporary performance. Through critical analysis, dialogue, discussion and debate two peer networks of Assessors and Judges spot game changing artists and play a vital role in identifying and celebrating excellence, innovation and creative talent in an ever-changing contemporary performance landscape. 

Resisting too narrow a definition of the term ‘total theatre’ the awards focus on artists and companies leading innovative work beyond the classical cannon and new writing – working within the fields of devised theatre, live art, visual performance, mime, puppetry, physical theatre, experimental theatre, dance, clown, circus, street, immersive, outdoor, site specific performance and more. The process also places a special emphasis on exploring difficult issues and the spaces in between established performance forms where innovative new creative practices, approaches and models are emerging. 

 total theatre awards 2019

The Total Theatre Awards are voluntarily led. The cost of delivering the awards this year is £19,000, this is £4,000 more than last year simply because of accommodation increases. £13,000 is overheads for the team, accommodation, per diems and travel. The remaining £4,000 is used to fund fees for people so they don’t work for free and for the awards themselves. The Directors continue to work voluntarily.

We still have some way to go to secure the minimum £19,000 needed to be able to run a Total Theatre Awards Awards process this August. We are hoping we can, as the process is a vital part of the independent theatre ecology, providing essential visibility, recognition which in turn brokers routes for independent performance makers to reach wide audiences and supports artists livelihoods.

We still need to raise £10,000 to deliver a process that has run for 22 years.

If you think you can help please email Jo or Becki at and

total theatre awards 2018

Total Theatre Awards 2018

485 shows assessed in total across all eligible categories

Seven awards presented to artists across five categories

A Significant Contribution Award also awarded

Since 1997, the Total Theatre Awards have been recognising innovative and artist-led performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. We are delighted to announce the winners of the Total Theatre Awards 2018. Over the course of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe 29 peer assessors, comprising of artists, producers, programmers, curators, critics and academics assessed 461 shows across the first 11 days of the festival, from which a shortlist of 22 nominated shows was announced on 16 August 2018.

Following this, the nominated shows were viewed by a panel of 22 judges who have awarded seven awards across five categories – one Total Theatre & Theatre Deli Award for an Emerging Company / Artist, two awards for Physical/Visual Theatre, one Total Theatre & Jacksons Lane Award for Circus, one Total Theatre & The Place Award for Dance, and two awards for Innovation, Experimentation and Playing With Form. One Significant Contribution Award is also presented.

Speaking about the award winners, Co-Directors Jo Crowley and Becki Haines said;

Total Theatre continually and rigorously re-evaluates what performance is and what it can be by championing artists who are committed to innovation. The shortlisted artists and winners in 2018 have all built upon our understanding and articulation of this. The Shortlisted and winning shows evidence the creative potential that can be found in providing space for visionary artists and theatre makers to create without censors, and to share their voices directly and unfiltered to an audience.

We are not alone in identifying absent practitioners and absent voices in this festival and we are moving forward on tangible steps with partners, to explore how we might provide resources and opportunities to better support and develop the artists, critical voices and leaders who are not a part of the conversation at this point.

The Total Theatre Award Winners 2018 are:

Total Theatre & Theatre Deli Award for an Emerging Company / Artist

Cock, Cock… Who’s There?
Samira Elagoz in association with From Start to Finnish (Finland)

Total Theatre Award for Physical / Visual Theatre

Another One

 By Lobke Leirens and Maxim Storms
Vooruit, Arenbergschouwburg, Big in Belgium, Richard Jordan Productions, TRP, Summerhall (Belgium)

Chaliwaté Company and Focus Company (Belgium)

Total Theatre & Jacksons Lane Award for Circus

Casting Off
Sharon Burgess Productions and A Good Catch (Australia)

Total Theatre & The Place Award for Dance

V / DA and MHz, in association with Feral (Scotland)

Total Theatre Award for Innovation, Experimentation & Playing with Form

Natalie Palamides: NATE
Soho Theatre (England/United States)

Pussy Riot: Riot Days
One Inch Badge (England/Russia)

Significant Contribution Award

Le Gateau Chocolat

The Judging panel for the 2018 Total Theatre Awards;

Nick Anderson (Independent Producer, Founder of Amplifier), Adrian Berry (Artistic Director, Jacksons Lane), Emma Blackman (Producer & Programmer, Theatre Deli), Jessica Bowles (Course Leader MA/MFA Creative Producing Royal Central School of Speech & Drama), Matt Burman (Artistic Director, Cambridge Junction) Paul Burns (Interim Head of Dance, Creative Scotland), Christina Elliot (Senior Producer, The Place), Helen Freshwater (Reader in Theatre & Performance, University Newcastle), Simon Hart (Artistic Director, Puppet Animation Scotland), Donald Hutera  (Dance Writer, The Times & Dramaturg), Kevin Jamieson (Senior Producer Theatre, HOME Manchester), Sacha Lee (Artistic Director, The Point & The Berry Theatre), Jaine Lumdson  (Theatre Officer, Creative Scotland), Dorothy Max Prior (Editor, Total Theatre Magazine), Aislinn Mulligan (Artist & Co-Director, Circumference), Shona Reppe (Artist & Previous TTA winner), Mary Reoder (Programming Manager, UMS, Ann Arbour Michigan – USA), Andy Roberts (Programme Director, The ShowRoom Chichester & Co-Artistic Director Bootworks Theatre & Previous TTA winner), Layla Rosa  (Artist, Shunt & Previous TTA winner), Kei Saito (Independent Producer – Japan), Roland Smith (Co-Artistic Director, Theatre Deli), Degna Stone (Independent Producer & Poet), Filip Tielens (Independent Writer & Critic - Belgium). Natalie Querol, (Director, Empty Space), chair of Judging Meeting.

With huge thanks to our assessors; a peer panel of academics, artists, critics, curators, producers, programmers and other arts professionals:

Adam Smith, Alex Brenner, Alex Curtis-Rodriguez, Alice Massey, Alister Lownie, Anne Mulleners, Barra Collins, Beth Jerpersen, Ceriann Williams, Cheryl Martin, Daniel Kok, Ellice Stevens, Hannah McPake, Jess Mable Jones, Jo Mackie, Julia Croft, Kamaal Hussain, Kate Kavanagh, Kirsten McPake, Leo Burtin, Matt Rogers, Melanie Purdie, Paul Evans, Philippa Hamley, Roxanne Carney, Sally Marie and Sarah Colson.

Total Theatre Awards 2018 Team:

Co-Directors: Jo Crowley & Becki Haines

Producer: Lizzie Jenkins

Associate Producer – Documentation & Research: Michael Norton

Awards Assistant: Emma Gannon

Press: Mobius


total theatre awards 2018 supporters


Total Theatre Network is a registered charity that is run across the year by a voluntary board and steering group of producers who oversee the delivery of the Awards in Edinburgh. The Awards are only possible through collaboration with key supporters.  Supporters confirmed thus far, for this year include  Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, the Barbican, Cambridge Junction, University of Chichester, The Empty Space, Farnham Maltings, HOME, Jacksons Lane, Mobius, National Theatre Wales, Oxford Playhouse, The Place, The Point, Puppet Animation Scotland, Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, Theatre Deli and The Touring Network. We thank these supporters for their commitment and foresight in supporting the Total Theatre Awards.  If you are an organisation, individual or funder that is interested in supporting the Total Theatre Awards please contact Co-Directors, Jo Crowley or Becki Haines.

Read the 2018 Total Theatre Awards Press Release here.

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Images: Two Man Show RashDash (Shortlisted 2016) | Hot Brown Honey Hot Brown Honey (Shortlisted 2016) | Water on Mars Plastic Boom (Shortlisted 2016) | Us/Them BRONKS (Shortlisted 2016)