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Barrel Organ, Burnt Lemon & Poltergeist Announced As 2019 Winners of the Untapped Award

Barrel Organ, Burnt Lemon & Poltergeist Announced As 2019 Winners of the Untapped Award

New Diorama Theatre and Underbelly have announced the winners of the Untapped Award for 2019.

Barrel Organ will present Conspiracy - an insight into the inner world of conspiracy theorists and the role their polemic and sometimes alienating beliefs play in their personal lives.

A timely topic in the era of The Mueller Investigation and Cambridge Analytica scandal, where conspiracies are mainstream, fake news is rife and the truth is an ever less tangible construct, Conspiracy brings one of the world's most fascinating subcultures roaring to life using Barrel Organ's distinctively atmospheric, highly stylised staging and razor-sharp dialogue.

Burnt Lemon gained critical acclaim for their 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut The Half Moon Shania and return to Edinburgh this year with Tokyo Rose - the true story of Iva Toguri D'Aquino; a Japanese-American comedian who was baselessly accused of being an infamous war propagandist.

The company's electric combination of fast-paced, dialogue driven storytelling, and raucous, gig theatre-inflected performance gives this historical drama a modern edge which creates undeniable parallels between societies in which competing narratives in a propaganda war lead outspoken women to be vilified creating what promises to be a thrilling play which packs a political punch.

Poltergeist were shortlisted for the Untapped Award in 2018 and following a hugely successful Edinburgh with their tale of UFO believers, Lights Over Tesco Carpark, they return with Art Heist - a satirical depiction of an art heist which plays cleverly and entertainingly with form. Blending monologue, movement and music, and even incorporating their own take on performance art, Art Heist is a sharply funny depiction of the world of abstract artists, hapless criminals and unsuspecting gallery visitors.

The three shows were chosen from a shortlist of thirteen companies who themselves were chosen from 198 entries by a panel of judges from around the country.

Each company will be allocated a space at Underbelly, guarantee-free, receive an enhanced split of ticket proceeds and receive a grant of £3,000 towards the cost of producing their show. They will also receive in-kind mentorship, full marketing and PR support, accessible performances, and a London showcase at New Diorama Theatre after the Fringe, supported by Arts Council England.

Last year's inaugural Untapped partnership between Underbelly and New Diorama spawned three sold-out shows, Breach's It's True It's True It's True, Nouveau Riche's Queens of Sheba and ThisEgg's dressed., which between them garnered two Scotsman Fringe First Awards, two The Stage Edinburgh Awards and a further Total Theatre Award nomination.

David Byrne, New Diorama Theatre's Artistic & Executive Director said:

"It's getting harder every year for theatre companies and ensemble-led work to showcase at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Thanks to the incredible applications we received, New Diorama's partnership with Underbelly, supported by the brilliant Arts Council England, will, yet again, be some of the best work presented at the festival. I can't wait to start sharing these brilliant shows with audiences."

Aisling Galligan, Programme Coordinator at Underbelly said:

"Underbelly is delighted to continue to support talented ensembles and intriguing ideas. These three companies have demonstrated a strong sense of curiosity, a desire to take bold risks in how they tell their stories, and a commitment to challenge themselves as theatre makers. We are extremely excited to showcase their work at this year's Festival Fringe."

Burnt Lemon said:

"We are beyond thrilled to be heading to the Fringe with the generous support of New Diorama and Underbelly, sharing the platform with two astounding companies that we admire so much. We can't wait to share our fierce, ferocious, female-led 'Tokyo Rose' opening a conversation that asks what it means to belong - especially now that borders seem so significant."

Barrel Organ said: "CONSPIRACY has been floating around our minds for a long time now, so it's a thrill that we actually get to make this show happen and ask some big questions about what we believe and why. We wouldn't be going to Edinburgh without the support of Untapped and can't wait to share the stage with two other extraordinary companies."

Poltergeist said: "We are so thrilled to be recipients of the 2019 UNTAPPED Award, and to find ourselves in such brilliant company. The support of New Diorama and Underbelly is game-changing, and we can't wait to get to work on our new show, Art Heist. We are hope the Fringe is ready for a run of full-out criminal behaviour."

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