Nichola McAuliffe has become the first ever performer to win the Best Actress award at The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence at the Edinburgh Fringe for a second time. McAuliffe was recognised for her performance in Maurice’s Jubilee – about an elderly man celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee - which McAuliffe also wrote. She previously won in 2001 (performing in Bed Among the Lentils).

Best Actor went to Scottish actor Bill Paterson for his performance in And No More Shall We Part, staged at the Traverse, another play addressing old age and approaching death.

Caroline Horton – a winner in the Best Solo Performer category in 2010 – was recognised this year along with her company in the Best Ensemble category for the company’s performance in Mess, a play about anorexia.

Meanwhile, Best Solo Performer, which was launched in 2006 in recognition of the growing number of one-person shows on the Fringe, went to Italian performer Silvia Gallerano for the The Sh*t/La Merda, a satire on Italian politics that sees the actress perform naked, which was staged at Summerhall.

Nick Awde, Stage critic and chair of the judging panel, said: “As the Edinburgh Festival Fringe grows each year, the range of shows and the opportunities it offers actors also increase, a trend marked by the impressive range of talent on offer. All the nominees on the shortlist had their strong advocates within the jury, so making the final choices became all the more challenging.

“From young groups such as Caroline Horton and Company to pillars of the industry such as Nichola McAuliffe and Bill Paterson, from major company productions to no-frills in-yer-face solo outings, we are recognising that Edinburgh truly celebrates talent right across the board.

“It is also satisfying to see that Edinburgh is now firmly on the world map as a trusted showcase for international work. We are thrilled therefore to see Silvia Gallerano win with a work that is uniquely Italian yet universal in its impact. Her win also confirms the venue Summerhall as a remarkable platform for fusing art and theatre.”

Full list of winners:

  • Best Actor: BILL PATERSON for And No More Shall We Part (Hampstead Theatre at the Traverse)

  • Also nominated:
    • MIKE McSHANE for Mon Droit (Mike McShane at Pleasance)
    • JULIAN GLOVER for Maurice's Jubilee (Pleasance and PW Productions in association with Wild Thyme Productions at Pleasance)
    • BRIAN VERNEL for The Static (ThickSkin at Underbelly)
    • BENOIT HATTET for Elephant Man (Compagnie du Fomenteur/Benoit Hattet, Isabelle Bouvrain at Institut Francais d'Ecosse)
  • Best Actress: NICHOLA McAULIFFE for Maurice's Jubilee (Pleasance and PW Productions in association with Wild Thyme Productions at Pleasance)

  • Also nominated:
    • SCARLET SWEENEY for As Ye Sow (Theatre of the Damned and Bare Bawds Theatre at Pleasance)
    • MARY GAPINSKI for Thread (Nutshell at Assembly)
    • CLAIRE DARGO for Thread (Nutshell at Assembly)
    • KATIE BONNA for Dirty Great Love Story (Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna at Pleasance)
    • ZOEY DAWSON for The Economist (MKA: Theatre of New Writing at C)
  • Best Ensemble: CAROLINE HORTON AND COMPANY for Mess (China Plate presents [email protected], commissioned by BAC, Parabola Arts Centre at the Traverse)

  • Also nominated:
    • BAXTER THEATRE CENTRE for Mies Julie (Baxter Theatre Centre, South African State Theatre and Assembly at Assembly)
    • TICK TOCK PRODUCTIONS for And the Girls in Their Sunday Dresses (The Market Theatre and Assembly at Assembly)
    • Q BROTHERS for Othello - The Remix (Q Brothers, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Richard Jordan Productions and Pleasance at Pleasance)
    • COMMUNICADO for Tam O'Shanter (Communicado in co-production with Horsecross Arts and Assembly at Assembly)
    • THE ELEPHANT AND THE MOUSE for Repertory Theatre (The Elephant and the Mouse at C)
  • Best Solo Performer: SILVIA GALLERANO for The Sh*t/La Merda (Silvia Gallerano/Cristian Ceresoli at Summerhall)

  • Also nominated:
    • CATHERINE SHIPTON for Soldiers’ Wives (Jermyn Street Theatre at Assembly)
    • KATIE O’KELLY for Joyced! (Lane of Stones at Assembly)
    • ALEXANDER WEST for My Elevator Days (Svenska Teatern at Pleasance)
    • JOANNA BENDING for Hand over Fist (Seabright Productions and the Comedians’ Theatre Company at Pleasance)
    • KIERAN HURLEY for Beats (The Arches in association with the Traverse Theatre Company at Traverse)

Note to Editors

  1. The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence were founded by the publication in 1995 to celebrate the best performances in theatre-based productions each year at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
  2. The judging panel consists of the principal reviewers for The Stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Nick Awde, Gerald Berkowitz, Thom Dibdin, Natasha Tripney, Lauren Paxman and Honour Bayes.
  3. The full list of nominees, together with reviews of all nominated shows and approximately 300 others, can be found at The Stage’s Edinburgh Fringe website at
  4. Winners in 2011 were: Best Actor: Billy Mack for The Overcoat (Pleasance), Best Actress: Alessija Lause for Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Remarkable Arts at St George’s West) Best Ensemble: Citizens Theatre for The Monster in the Hall (Traverse) Best Solo Performer: Gerard Logan for The Rape of Lucrece (Zoo). Previous winners from other years include: Guy Masterson, Phil Nicol, Cora Bisset, Caroline O’Connor, Nichola McAuliffe and Daniel Kitson.
  5. For further information, contact Cyrila Pereira by email at [email protected] or on 020 7939 8483 / mobile: 07763 208222. Or for further comment, please contact deputy editor Alistair Smith, [email protected]