The Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award Goes To LITTLE GEM, Teams With The Flea To Produce in 2010

The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation is proud to announce the winner of this year's Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award, the highest honor at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The winner of the Award was announced at the closing ceremonies of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on Friday, August 28, 2009 at 11am.

This year, The Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award goes to LITTLE GEM written by Elaine Murphy and directed by Paul Meade, produced by Gúna Nua Theatre Company and the Civic Theatre, with support from Culture Ireland.

This year, The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation has partnered with the Obie and Drama Desk Award-winning The Flea Theatre to present the winning production in January 2010.

LITTLE GEM is the first full-length play by young Irish playwright Elaine Murphy. It is a year in the life of three generations of women whose adventures in love, sex, birth, death, and salsa classes enthrall and entertain audiences in this revealing, poignant and very funny play. Performed by Hilda Fay, Sarah Greene and Anita Reeves, LITTLE GEM has played to packed houses in Ireland and Edinburgh.

"The magic in Elaine Murphy's debut play lies in her truthful writing and the delivery by three extraordinary actors. Three female generations of the same Dublin family expose their messy, loving relationships-and the audience is drawn into their wonderful family," says Carol Tambor. "As Lyn Gardner said in her Guardian review: ‘You just want to hug them.' Amen."

Eugene Downes, CEO of Culture Ireland who supported the production traveling to Edinburgh said: "For a new Irish play to win the most prestigious award at the world's largest arts festival is an extraordinary achievement for Elaine Murphy, for Gúna Nua and the outstanding cast of actors. It's striking evidence of Ireland's world-class success in the arts. This award opens the door to New York and Culture Ireland looks forward to working closely with the Carol Tambor Foundation to promote LITTLE GEM.'

To be eligible for The Carol Tambor Award, the show must be an original work, never seen in New York City, and have received a 4-star or 5-star review from The Scotsman, Scotland's foremost daily newspaper.

The winning production was chosen by Carol Tambor and members of her Foundation, along with The Scotsman Newspaper's arts writers Joyce Macmillian, Jackie McGlone and Mark Fisher.

Now in its 6th year, the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award builds a bridge between New York City and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. Created by Carol Tambor in 2004, the inaugural award winners were "Sister's, Such Devoted Sisters" and "Rosebud: The Lives of Orson Welles". This showcase resulted in both shows being picked up for productions in the US and Canada.

In 2005, The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation presented the critically acclaimed NYC premiere of Andrew Dawson's "unbearably beautiful" (NY Times) "Absence and Presence". The 2006 winner, Michael Redhill's "Goodness", received wide critical acclaim and was called "gripping and important" by the New York Times.

2007's winner "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" was presented in conjunction with the Under the Radar Festival. This surreal satire, which used animation and live performance to tell 10 startling and funny tales, was the recipient of two Drama Desk nominations and returned to the US in May as part of the Spoleto Festival. The work has subsequently toured Australia, Korea, Sri Lanka and Singapore, among other countries.

Last year's winner, "Eight" by Ella Hickson, subsequently went on to receive a critically acclaimed run in the West End at Trafalgar Studio.

Carol Tambor is a portrait artist by trade and a theater aficionado. For over a decade prior to creating the award, she had traveled to Edinburgh to enjoy the Festival offerings. Dismayed that so many fine plays never transferred to NYC, she decided to create an opportunity for New York audiences to get a taste of the Edinburgh theater offerings.

The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation was established to bring excellent dramatic work to the New York audience by funding the New York run. The mission to support artists in their desire to be seen and produced is carried out with no financial or commercial involvement in their future success.

The Flea Theater, under Artistic Director Jim Simpson and Producing Director Carol Ostrow, is one of New York's leading Off-Off-Broadway companies. Founded in 1996, The Flea's mission is to raise the standards of Off-Off-Broadway for artists and audiences alike. From A.R. Gurney to Adam Rapp, from Mac Wellman to Will Eno, The Flea's two intimate spaces are home to established artists taking new risks, emerging artists developing their ideas, and mid-career artists building sustained identities. The Flea is known as a showcase for both well-known stars - Peter Eyre, John Lithgow, Bill Murray, Marisa Tomei, Sigourney Weaver, Irene Worth - and the esteemed young resident acting company, The Bats. The Flea has been awarded a Drama Desk, an Otto, and numerous OBIEs for its commitment to adventurous theater. Past productions include the premieres of Anne Nelson's The Guys, five plays by A.R. Gurney (A Light Lunch, Post Mortem, O Jerusalem, Screenplay, and Mrs. Farnsworth), Mac Wellman's Cellophane and Two September, Roger Rosenblatt's Ashley Montana Goes Ashore..., Elizabeth Swados' JABU and Kaspar Hauser, Karen Finley's Return of the Chocolate Smeared Woman, Yussef El Guindi's Back of the Throat, Julian Sheppard's Los Angeles, Adam Rapp's Bingo with the Indians, Will Eno's Oh, The Humanity and other exclamations, Thomas Bradshaw's DAWN, and Itamar Moses' Love/Stories (or But You Will Get Used to It). To learn more about The Flea, visit

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world, has been ongoing since 1947. Fringe 2009 features over 34,000 performances of 2,098 shows in 265 different venues throughout Edinburgh. The 2008 Festival sold more than 1.5 million tickets during its 3 weeks, the sixth consecutive year the Fringe sailed past the one million-ticket barrier. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has served as a launching pad for the careers of renowned stars such as Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Jude Law and Eddie Izzard as well as renowned playwrights like Tom Stoppard.


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