Scotland: Freedom of Expression Award Shortlist Announced

The shortlist for the 2008 Freedom of Expression Award has been announced.

The Freedom of Expression Award is administered by Amnesty International and the Big Issue in Scotland. The Award recognises Festival productions which make a significant contribution to the public's greater awareness and understanding of human rights issues.

An unprecedented 41 productions entered this year’s Award, from which a shortlist of five productions has been selected:

1) Bully, Richard Fry- Gilded Balloon, Teviot
‘Bully’ is a fraught but funny fast-paced journey through the life of a young man battling with bullies and bigots. ‘Fry is an engrossing performer’ (Camden Gazette). ‘He’s so good it depresses me’ (Scott Capurro).

2) In A Thousand Pieces, The Paper Birds- Gilded Balloon, Teviot
Suitcases, puzzles, bus tickets and buttons tell the physically and visually breathtaking tale of a young Eastern European girl forced into the English sex trade. Accompanied by a live original piano score. ‘Impressive, heartfelt, wonderful!’ (Guardian)

3) Deep Cut, Sherman Cymru- Traverse Theatre
Private Cheryl James died from gunshot wounds at Deepcut Barracks. Cheryl’s parents still want answers from those responsible for her care. Crafted by Philip Ralph from original source material and firsthand testimonies. Directed by Mick Gordon.

4) The Idiot Colony, Red Cape Theatre- Pleasance Dome, Potterow
Three Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights locked away for their illicit loves relive faltering memories amidst the drugs and brutality of the asylum. Visually stunning blend of physicality and text based on true stories. Genuinely funny and incredibly moving.

5) Motherland, Live Theatre- Underbelly, Cowgate
Motherland is a powerful and moving dramatisation of conversations with wives, girlfriends and mothers of military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. These North East Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights share their incredibly moving and hard-hitting stories with warmth, humour and candour.

John Watson, Amnesty International's Scottish Programme Director, said:

"Challenging, thought-provoking theatre is alive and well at the Edinburgh Festival, with a record number of productions entering this year's Freedom of Expression Award. Narrowing this down to just 5 has been difficult but we can now present an excellent shortlist which does credit to the Fringe's tradition of freedom of expression."

The final winner of the Award will be announced at a ceremony on Friday 22nd August at 5.30pm in the Board Room of 5 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh.

Later on this year, Amnesty International in conjunction with east-London theatre company iceandfire, will announce the winner of its second annual drama and theatrical arts-based contest, the Protect The Human 2008 playwriting competition.

In its second year, the Protect The Human contest invited writers to make real and relevant the impact of human rights issues in our every day lives. In keeping with Amnesty International's ethos that urges ordinary people to stand up for humanity and human rights, the competition seeks to draw on the power of the ordinary voice.

So far more than 125 plays have been submitted into the contest on topics ranging from the impact of domestic violence to the human cost of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Amnesty International UK Scotland Director, John Watson said:

“The purpose of the Protect The Human competition is in keeping with that of Amnesty’s Freedom of Expression Award. We’re encouraging people to harness theatre's ability to make real and relevant the impact of human rights on our everyday lives.”

Ends

Further information: John Watson 0131 313 7012, 07818 453070 john.watson@amnesty.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

1) The 2007 Freedom of Expression Award winner was The Container, a play staged in an actual container lorry, with the audience shut inside the enclosed space. The play, written by Clare Bayley and produced by Nimble Fish Productions deals with asylym and racial and religious persecution. It was praised by the judges as having a very strong impact on the audience as well as being intense, contemporary and accessible to a younger audience.

2) The full 41 entries to the Freedom of Expression Award were:

- This is not a Subject for Comedy - Ivor Dembina/Laughing Horse Free Festival
- The Secrets Inside - Sell a Door Theatre Company
- InvAsian Festival: The Self-Murder - SSSR Production
- InvAsian Festival: ID - HuRuNunMul
- InvAsian Festival: Another Paradise - Kali Theatre
- Dirt - Dreck Productions
- Blue on Blue - Play Ball Theatre
- Don't say a Word - Sole Purpose Productions
- New World Order - Rogue Shakespeare Company
- In a Thousand Pieces - The Paper Birds
- The "American", the Coloured and Me - M+E Theatre
- My Grandfather's Great War - Festival Highlights
- Cloudcuckooland - Onassis Programme
- This is not the Truman Show - University of Manchester Drama Society
- Yasser - Guy Masterson/TTI in association with Studio Dubbelagent (Holland)
- The British Ambassadors Belly Dancer - Fledgling Theatre
- Another Kind of Silence - Full Circle
- Off her Trolley - Eleanor Bennet
- The Factory - Badac Theatre Company
- Scratch the Surface - The Backbone Theatre Company
- Stoning Mary - New Cambridge Theatre Company
- Fall - Traverse Theatre Company
- Free Outgoing - Royal Court Theatre
- Deep Cut - Sherman Cymru
- Bully - Ines Wurth Presents
- The Angel and the Woodcutter - Cho-in Theatre (Korea)
- Love for Sale - Maelstrom Theatre Company
- The Arab, the Jew and the Chicken - Conflict Relief the Arab and Israeli Theatre Collaboration
- InvAsian Festival: Dance without Movement - Peshkar Productions
- A Dog called Redemption - Bright Heights Theatre Company
- Crossing the River Jordan - El Funoun Group (Scotland)
- The Boy from Centreville - Central School of Speech and Drama
- Discipline and Punish - SUDS Theatre Company
- The Army of Reason - Weaver Hughes Ensemble
- Shut Up! Listen! - International Director Group SU
- No Gypsy Child of Mine - Whistling Boy Productions
- The Idiot Colony - RedCape Theatre
- A Real Humane Person who Cares and All That - Rested Theatre Company
- All Dressed Up to Go Dreaming - Pope Joan Theatre Company
- Motherland - Live Theatre

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