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The Awards

Edinburgh SIT-UP Award

SIT-UP will identify the shows that are changing minds and announce a shortlist of 6 at the end of the 2nd week.

There is no formal application procedure.

Although we expect the shortlist to consist mainly of theatrical productions we do not rule out including comedy, dance or physical theatre.

Our judges bring wide and varied experience of theatre and the social sector. They will select the winner that will be announced at the end of the 3rd week. We are also intending to carry out audience polling of the shortlist to inform our view of their reactions.

The winner will receive £5k of which £1k is cash – to pay off festival debt, kick-start the next production, or just throw a party – and we will also provide £4k of in-kind support to amplify the social impact of the piece. The support will be tailored to suit the company and issue.

Audience Engagement Award

In addition to the main award, there will be a discretionary £1k Audience Engagement Award for a production that is innovative at mobilising their audience to respond to a social issue. Contact us if you think you might be eligible and tell us what you are doing that is special.


We take for granted that the shortlisted productions will have great artistic merit, but the winner will also have excelled in one or more of the following:

  • Changing minds –A powerful play could achieve a ‘full 180’ of opinion and sustain this change long term. This criteria reflects the play’s ability to incite empathy, and for the story to linger in the heart and mind after the festival.
  • Changing behaviours – The best productions will have a loud, specific call to action and information or mechanisms to help audiences achieve it.
  • Research integrity –This could be informing the content or direction of the play as a result of collaboration with a charity, or through involving those with lived experience in the production.
  • Raising awareness – Plays that educate audiences, helping them to understand issues they never knew existed or to see a new perspective.

The 2018 Judges

  • Robert Iles – Chair
    Reviewer and Co-Founder of UK Theatre Web
  • David Graham
    Founder SIT-Up Awards
  • Jez Bond
    Founder and Artistic Director of Park Theatre, London.
  • Celia Tennant
    Chief Executive, Inspiring Scotland
  • Adam Kashmiry
    Actor and inspiration for National Theatre of Scotland’s Adam and this award
  • Rhea Lewis
    Creative Producer