A STAR-STUDDED bash saw the Evening News Drama Awards return to Gilded Balloon in style yesterday.
Affectionately known as the ENDAs, the awards, which have become the “Oscars” of the Edinburgh amateur circuit since their inception in 2007, recognise the contribution of local amateurs to the Festival Fringe.
More than 100 of the Capital’s unpaid actors gathered for the annual prize-giving at the venue’s New Amphion Bar, and watched as Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group (EGTG) lifted their first ever award, before Forth Children’s Theatre received their fourth.
Les Dennis, who presented the inaugural ENDA in 2007, returned by popular demand to present this year’s awards, starting with the Capital Spirit Award, decided solely by the judges.
The Family Fortunes favourite presented stunned members of the cast of Nobody Will Ever Forgive Us with their accolade.
Speaking on behalf of Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group, show director Claire Wood said: “It feels amazing – obviously I’m over the moon. And it’s a complete shock.
“The competition was so fierce this year – Edinburgh Theatre Arts did fantastically with their production of Macbeth in Scots – so we are really happy. It will also be a huge morale boost for everybody and confirmation that doing contemporary, ambitious work as an amateur group can still gain recognition.
“There’s a common assumption that amateur theatre has to be quite twee. We really believe strongly that we can do much more ambitious things with it.”
Les then handed over the Best Production Award to Forth Children’s Theatre for their production of the musical Once On This Island.
Show director Claire Stewart said: “We are absolutely ecstatic. We’ve got a new generation of kids coming through and they have not experienced anything like this before. It means the world to them to be part of it.”
Evening News editor Frank O’Donnell added: “The Evening News Drama Awards are an important date in the paper’s calendar. It is important that we recognise the local talent that entertains city audiences throughout year, and can so often be overlooked during the Fringe when there are thousands of shows vying for attention. “The Evening News Drama Awards are testament to all their hard work both on, and back stage.”
All nominations for the Evening News Drama Awards were viewed by at least two of our panel of industry experts, who this year were Eleanor Brown, producer and director of Musselburgh Amateur Musical Association; Gary Roden, general manager of the Edinburgh Playhouse, Councillor Gordon Blackburn and emergency panellist, Evening News reviewer Josie Balfour.
The nine other nominations were The Rise And Fall of Little Voice and Proof by Arkle Theatre Company, Doctor Faustus by EGTG, Ne’er The Twain and Sparkleshark by EPT, Macbeth In Scots by ETA, Leitheatre in Operation Stork, Saughtonhall Drama Group’s Trouble In The Tollbooth and Blithe Spirit by the Edinburgh Makars.