25th Dublin Fringe Festival closes on a high with the Fringe Awards

Winners of the 25th Dublin Fringe Festival Awards were announced last night (September 22) as this year’s glittering festival comes to an end for another year.

Dublin Fringe Festival Awards
Image: Dublin Fringe Festival

The Dublin Fringe Festival Awards exist to recognise, reward and celebrate the hard work and talent on display in the festival each year. Annually hundreds of artists spend thousands of hours making work for Dublin Fringe each year.

Their ambition and hard work is inspiring. The Dublin Fringe Festival awards celebrate just a handful of the most breath-taking, rule-breaking, legend-making moments form each festival. The dedicated Dublin Fringe panel of judges recognise the extraordinary skill and talent on display and acknowledge some of the stand-outs at this year’s festival.

Festival Director of DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL, Ruth McGowan opened the proceedings with a huge thank you to all companies involved in the festival. This year, the festival celebrated a big birthday of twenty-five and hosted a staggering 77 productions, 545 performances, with 54 world premieres, all of which ran in 36 venues across Dublin city.

After an 8 hour deliberation, this year’s judges selected the nominees and winners of the 2019 Dublin Fringe Festival awards. In a fantastic festival packed with invention, artistry and mischief, they had some very hard decisions to make.

This list below represents just a handful of the mavericks, trailblazers and legends who made brilliant and impactful performances at this year’s festival. Every one of the 560+ artists who brought their talents to the 2019 festival is a champion.

Dublin Fringe Festival Awards: and the winners are…

Best Production Award

Presented by DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL to the show that has it all – displaying excellence in every area of production, design, performance, concept and execution. This award acknowledges the enormous work and talent that is poured into presenting work at the festival and honours the comprehensive production.

Winner: The Examination by Brokentalkers



Best Design Award

The award presented for outstanding lighting, sound, scenic, projection, costume or overall design.

Winner: A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

Lighting Design: Sarah-Jane Shiels
AV Design: Eoin Kilkenny
Composition & Sound Designer: Alma Kelliher
Set & Prop Design: Andrew Clancy


Best Performers Award

Two of the festival’s brightest stars and best performers will take home this much sought-after accolade from a field of up to 10 nominees. [Formerly given to best male and female, Fringe has broadened this category to suit all gender indentification]


Breffni Holohan for Collapsible

Willie White for The Examination


Best Ensemble Award

Sometimes it’s the entire cast that makes a show. Introduced in 2014, this award recognises the ensemble as the standout – the heartbeat of a project or show.

Winner: Villains by Luke Murphy and Attic Projects


Judges’ Choice Award

Instituted in 2014, this award recognises three winners this year whose projects or contributions defy categorisation but must be recognised for their brilliance.


Incantation by Maïa Nunes

Making A Mark by Talking Shop Ensemble & Run of the Mill Theatre

We Are Lightening! by Joseph O’Farrell (JOF) & Sam Halmarack, performed by The St. James’ Brass and Reed Band, Zombie Dolls, The High Hopes Choir and The Line-Up Choir


Fishamble New Writing Award

Honouring the best play by a new or emerging Irish (or Ireland-based) writer for a new play premiered during DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL. This award includes dramaturgical support as appropriate, for instance, a scholarship place on one of Fishamble’s acclaimed playwriting courses and generously supported by Fishamble: The New Play Company.

Winner: Collapsible by Margaret Perry


First Fortnight Award

Since its inception in 2009, First Fortnight’s mission is to challenge prejudice and end stigma about mental health issues through the creative arts. The winner will perform at the next First Fortnight Festival (January 2020).

Winner: ADMIN by Oisín McKenna


Next Stage Wild Card Award

DUBLIN FRINGE awards a bursary to an artist who has been part of the festival, enabling them to participate in the Next Stage – an artist development programme run by Dublin Theatre Festival in partnership with Theatre Forum.

Winner: Rachel Ní Bhraonáin, maker of  Losing Your Body


Bewley’s Cafe Theatre ‘Little Gem’ Award

Bewley’s Café Theatre is Ireland’s foremost presenter of lunchtime theatre and is delighted and proud to continue to sponsor the Bewley’s Café Theatre ‘Little Gem’ Award for the most exciting show presented at this year’s DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL under 60 minutes. The selection is made up by the jury for final approval by Bewley’s Café Theatre. The prize is a handsome one, where the winning production earns a two week run at Bewley’s Café Theatre with €2,000 available to the company for remounting the production.

Winner: Patchwork by Louis Deslis


Spirit of Wit: Moira Brady Averill Award

A unique award for an artist willing to take risks and whose work defies categorisation with bold and unconventional material. In memory of Moira Brady Averill, who had the power to transform space and thought through alchemic wit – the award came with a monetary prize and framed illustration by artist Walker Mettling.

Winner: Hannah Mamalis – Symphony Of Worms


Outburst Queer Fringe Award

Outburst Queer Arts Festival is Belfast’s annual explosion for fierce new queer performance, film, theatre, art activism and creative ideas from all over the world. The winner of this award will be invited to bring their work to Belfast as part of the festival’s 2019 programme, this November.

Winner: GAA MAAD! by Áine O’Hara & Vickey Curtis


Radical Spirit Award

Co-presented by Dublin Fringe Festival and Project Arts Centre. An Irish artist dedicated to making bold contemporary work and who embodies the spirit of Fringe and Project.

Winner: Comfort Carnival – Club Comfort


Wilde Courage Award

Celebrating bold artistic journeys. The winner of this €1,000 cash prize will be the creator of a brave, one-of-a-kind project that evidences a singular artistic vision. Wilde Irish Gin supporting the courage to create.

Winner: Black Jam by Fried Plantains Collective


London Launchpad Award

Co-presented by London Irish Centre and Dublin Fringe Festival with the support of Culture Ireland, this award offers an opportunity for exciting Irish artists to present their work in London.

Winner: How To Square A Circle by Aisling Ní Cheallaigh & Ronan Brady


CREATIVE THINKING: An award from Abbey Theatre and Dublin Fringe Festival

This award rewards an emerging artist of extraordinary promise with five weeks of time, space and money to do some creative thinking. Over these five weeks at a time of their choosing, the recipient will receive €3000, a desk-space at Fringe HQ and scheduled meetings and support from the creative teams at the Abbey Theatre and Dublin Fringe Festival.

Winner: Seón Simpson & Gina Donnelly – Two Fingers Up


The 25th Dublin Fringe Festival ran from September 7 – 25, 2019. For more details on this year’s festival visit fringefest.com

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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