Six productions have been selected as the shortlist for The SIT-UP Awards – a new award at the dinburgh Festival Fringe to support theatre for social change, which aims to encourage audiences ‘to do something’ if they are affected by work they have seen on stage.

The issues that these tackle include anti-semitism, #metoo, domestic abuse,
disability, race and antibiotic resistance. The companies range from larger established ones to new productions appearing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the first time. All selected companies are achieving social impact at the heart of their productions and
within their organisation.

David Graham founder of SIT-UP awards said: “All of the shortlisted productions shine a light on different issues and show the power of theatre to achieve change through their audiences. And that was the idea in setting up these awards in the first place”.

The shortlisted productions are:

Christina Murdock: Dangerous Giant Animals (Underbelly)
From newcomer, Christina Murdock, comes a game of hide-and-seek exploring how
surreal, challenging and remarkable it is growing up with a disabled sister.

Strictly Arts: Freeman (Pleasance Courtyard)
This production looks at issues of race and mental health from young theatre group,
Strictly Arts – winners of the Charlie Hartill Fund Award.

Smokescreen Productions: Mengele (Assembly George Square Theatre)
A spotlight on anti-semitism and a warning from the past of the consequences when the world buys into hatred and bigotry.

Futures Theatre: Never Vera Blue (Summerhall)
From Futures Theatre comes a play about domestic abuse and the power of coercion.

Power Play: The Empty Chair (site-specific Flat 7, 21 Broughton Street, EH1 3JU)
A play with an interesting twist on #metoo from the young feminist activist company Power Play Theatre.

Charades Musicals and BSAC: The Mould That Changed The World (The Space at Surgeons Hall)
A musical with an important message about the spread of antibiotic resistance. It comes from Charades Musicals, a company committed to taking musicals into schools.

Celia Tennant, award judge and chief executive of Inspiring Scotland said: “It is really encouraging to see so many of the pressing social issues affecting our society today in the spotlight at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. As someone who works with charities that deal with consequences of many of these issues, which often disproportionately affect people who are already facing disadvantage, I am delighted to be on the judging panel for the Sit Up Awards. It is helpful to keep these important topics in conversation after the curtain falls.”

A panel of experts will decide on the winner which will be announced next week. The panel comprises Robert Iles (co-founder of the UK Theatre Web), Alice Millest (trustee of the charity theatre company Clean Break and youth-led initiative Art Against Knives), Jez Bond (Park Theatre Director); Celia Tennant (Chief Executive of Inspiring Scotland); Rhea Lewis (Creative Producer and Co-Founder of Project X); and Adam Kashmiry, whose play Adam inspired Graham to set up these awards.