Prague Fringe announces awards

Several of the more than 50 shows stood out from the others

The Prague Fringe Festival of alternative theater, which ran May 26 to June 3, announced its winners. The festival was in its 16th year and has been giving out awards since 2009. This year's festival had more than 50 theater groups putting on around 230 performances at venues across Prague's Malá Strana district.

The award winners are picked by an anonymous jury of people who commit to seeing a large number of the shows in the festival.

The Creative Award goes to the company whose production is deemed creatively exceptional. This time there were two winners. Angel by Henry Naylor, presented Redbeard Theatre in conjunction with Gilded Balloon Productions of England, was an emotion-filled one-woman drama about a female sniper in northern Syria. Hummingbird by Tooth+ Nail Theatre Company of Scotland, England and France, had a three-person cast look into an obscure historical event from the late 1940s in the US, using both dramatic dialogue and physical theater.

A play by Henry Naylor called Echoes, staged by Pipeline Productions, won the Creative Award in 2016. Tooth+ Nail won the Inspiration Award last year with their show Parlor Games.

The Inspiration Award goes to a new piece of work, which had no more than two runs previously, that is suitable for theater, dance, storytelling, spoken word, opera, or physical theater with a strong element of character development or narrative. The winner this year was Whales & Souls by US-based Sexy Dirt Productions. The one-man show had actor Chris Roe perform seven characters in a tale set by a campfire near an abandoned town that had a dark past.

The Performance Award goes to an individual artist who has excelled in their performance at the festival. There were several strong performances this year with Chris Roe in Whales & Souls, Avital Lvova in Angel by Henry Naylor and Nancy Monahan in Shenandoah among the nominees. The winner was Derek Crawford Munn for Hess. The tense one-man play depicted Nazi leader Rudolf Hess, the sole occupant of Spandau Prison in West Berlin, lamenting his fate and giving his side of events in World War II.

The final award was for the Spirit of the Fringe, which is given in exceptional circumstances to an individual or company who has truly embraced the spirit of the festival. This year the award went to Jan Thompson OBE, British Ambassador to the Czech Republic, for the support, friendship and generosity she has the shown Prague Fringe Festival and its artists during her tenure.

The next Prague Fringe is scheduled for May 25 to June 2.

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