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Scotland: Record enteries for Amnesty Fringe award as nomination close

Amnesty International has announced a record number of entries for its Freedom of Expression Award at the Edinburgh Fringe. As the nominations closed this weekend, 51 productions had entered for the award, which will be given to an outstanding Fringe play that carries a human rights message.

Last year’s winner, Deep Cut, went on to be performed at the Tricycle Theatre in London and the 2007 winner, The Container, has just completed an extended, sold-out run at the Young Vic in association with Amnesty International.

Amnesty International Scotland Director John Watson said:

“It’s fantastic that so many productions have chosen to highlight human rights issues at the Fringe this year. Theatre and comedy can really bring these issues to life and make an audience think about them afresh.

“We’ve had some superb past winners of the Freedom of Expression award so I’m looking forward to another tough judging process. I hope we can help catapult another production to the success enjoyed by previous winners like Deep Cut and The Container.”

All entries are visited by Amnesty reviewers to create a shortlist, which will be announced in mid August. A panel of professional theatre critics then determine the eventual winner, which will be announced at a special Amnesty awards event on 27 August.

This year Amnesty reinforces its Freedom of Expression message at the Festival by campaigning for Dr Binayak Sen, an Indian doctor facing trial on trumped-up charges that Amnesty believes are a response to his activism, speaking out on behalf of the poor and marginalised. If convicted he could face a life term in jail. Amnesty is asking people to fill in one of its Action Cards or go to to send an appeal to the Indian authorities.

Activists will be out on Edinburgh’s streets this year with Amnesty’s Protect the Human placards, asking festival-goers to take their own stand for human rights by posing for a photo brandishing an Amnesty banner. All the photos will be displayed on Amnesty’s Flickr Stream.

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