Nick Williams on winning a Fringe First

Nick Williams on winning a Fringe First

I returned to London from Edinburgh after we had just opened The Events, tired but elated from a superb critical and audience response.  We had spent the whole of the previous week tweaking the production following our London technical and dress rehearsals and a public performance at Holt.  Throughout the previews we continued to refine and hone the show, opening on a Sunday morning in Edinburgh to a huge buzz and a full house. Then the reviews appeared.

We were a hit!

Back in the office in London on Thursday, with barely a day to recover, I received an email from the Traverse press office; we’d been nominated for a Fringe First, to be awarded the following morning at a ceremony!  Of course I was delighted. A show that had started life with a conversation in the Traverse bar between Ramin and David Greig had, two years later, premiered to acclaim at the same venue and now had won a Fringe First, the most important award at the Fringe.

The reality then sunk in quickly.  10am on Friday morning was our performance time that day, as the times change in the Traverse programme daily. Ramin was on holiday and David was on holiday. There was no-one to collect the award, other than me. In a mad dash we looked at getting back to Scotland, in time for the morning presentation which meant an early start and a flight.  I’d let the adrenaline rush subside so this was a much-needed push to get going again. Early on Friday morning I took a taxi to Gatwick Airport and boarded the plane.  Before I knew it, I was back in Edinburgh and heading to the awards. 

That morning I fulfilled a long-held dream: to win a Fringe First for a new play being performed at the Traverse Theatre.

I had struggled in thinking about my acceptance speech on how to include everyone – Ramin’s thanks, David’s thanks, acknowledging the huge range of talented people who had inputted into making the play, the fantastic cast and team running the show.  In the end, I didn’t want to be one of those “list bores”. I acknowledged the massive team effort, and then talked about our brilliant choirs.  They truly are the heart of the show, giving energy and enthusiasm and trusting us to take them on a journey through dark waters. 

We are delighted that we’ve won.  We look forward to presenting the show across the UK through the autumn, and look forward to meeting many more choir members who’ll help us tell our story.

Nick Williams
Executive Director, ATC