Assembly Announces ART Award Winners and Creative Lab Recipients

Assembly Festival runs from 3 to 29 August 2022.

By: Feb. 25, 2022
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Assembly Announces ART Award Winners and Creative Lab Recipients

Assembly has announced the winners of the much sought-after ART Award from 2020 and the recipients of this year's Roxy Creative Labs.

The ART Award (Assembly Roxy Theatre Award) winners were chosen in 2020 but have waited until 2022 to be part of the Assembly Festival programme. The ART Award was established in 2018 to support Scottish-based performance companies and practitioners to debut new work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2020, impressed by the high quality of applications received, the Assembly programming team decided to support three Scottish-based practitioners instead of one.

The 2020 winners are:

Kolbrun Bjort Sigfusdottir - current Mayfesto Resident Director at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow and Artistic Director of Brite Theatre, for her production Sandcastles by Steve McMahon - a deeply poetic play about friendship and forms of grief that moves back and forth in time and memory to tell the tale of the tumultuous lifelong friendship of two young millennials, Hannah and Beth.

Isla Cowan - Scottish playwright, director, and performer specialising in ecofeminist theatre, for She Wolf - a powerful one-woman play about interspecies, interaction and gender/class politics in a 'survival of the fittest' society. As Maggie's life falls apart, becoming-animal is only natural...

Pearlfisher - for their new production Silkworm by Vlad Butucea and co-produced by the Byre Theatre - a deeply poetic play about two women claiming asylum from the UK Home Office from a tower block in Glasgow.

Each of the ART Award winners receive in-kind support from Assembly Festival up to a value of £5.5k, including three weeks' rehearsal space at the Roxy Theatre, Fringe registration fees, and development and promotional support. Tickets for the ART Award winners' shows Sandcastles, Silkworm, and She Wolf will go on sale in April as part of the Assembly Festival Fringe Programme for 2022.

Continuing their commitment to investing in new theatre in Scotland, Assembly Theatre, based at the Roxy year-round, is also delighted to support three theatre companies with more Creative Labs following a successful pilot scheme in 2021. The Labs were set up in 2021 with support from the Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund and offer a week-long creative residency for companies looking for support to help move their work onto the next stage of its development. In addition to access to performance spaces, successful applicants receive £3.5k to support artist fees, documentation, a sharing of work, and access to Assembly Festival's in-house technical and producing team.

Roxy's Creative Lab Recipients 2022 are:

Paper Doll Militia - well-known for their pioneering and original aerial theatre. During their week-long residency at the Roxy they plan to work on the set for their new circus theatre production about mental health, and the fine line between supporting a partner in need and being in an abusive relationship. The interactive set will be inspired by images found in the fishing industry, implementing nets, wheels, ropes to convey entrapment.

In the Making - who experiment with instant dance performance amid live music guided by shared scores, creating complex interactions with each other and the audience. For Roxy Lab, the ensemble of 11 performers will work on Mushroom - the sequel which takes them back (and forward) to the ethos of their earliest gallery-based performance for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016. The way mushrooms mysteriously appear, alludes to the way In the Making generate their playful performances.

Some Kind of Theatre - based in Edinburgh who create work with literary themes and created Theatre On The Sofa which brings theatre performances into non-traditional performance spaces, including the offices, schools and living rooms of those unable to access theatre in traditional venues. Their Creative Lab week will be spent with Australian theatre-maker, circus designer and storyteller Sarah Whillier online, offering them guidance on creating hybrid theatre-circus work. They will also work with her on the set design of their new production Persephone: Sky, Earth, Above, Below using real plants with engaging scents, visuals and fruits. Some Kind of Theatre are also proud to be working with Edinburgh based circus practitioners Sharisse Tindell and Elsa Van der Wal, alongside musician Rachel Chung and climate change experts from the University of Stockholm.

William Burdett-Coutts, Director of Assembly Festival said:
"We are delighted to be able to announce the winners of the 2020 ART Award at last, and look forward to their shows being part of this year's theatre programme at Assembly. We are also grateful to the Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund for supporting our Creative Labs for a second year and hope to see these Scottish-based companies showcasing their work at future festivals in Edinburgh. As we move towards a more 'normal' year for the Fringe, I'd like to wish all six companies tremendous success with their shows and look forward to welcoming back to Edinburgh the artists and visitors that we have missed so very much during the pandemic, and who have been such a big part of the Festival since Assembly began over 40 years ago.

Assembly Festival runs from 3 to 29 August 2022. Tickets will go onsale in early March. For more information, visit


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