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Social Impact Theatre


2020 and 2021 Awards

Due to the pandemic we did not make an award in 2020 and 2021.

2019 Awards and Applications

We provided two awards:

  • SIT-UP 2019 Award with a prize of £5,000
  • SIT-UP Audience Engagement Award with a prize of £1,000

and starting two new initiatives:

  • SIT-UP Tickets Scheme
  • SIT-UP & Talk

SIT-UP 2019 Award

The SIT-UP 2019 Award will go to the production that effects the greatest change in audience perception, understanding and empathy for the issue. We will also take into account engagement with audiences by the production before and after the show.

This award will be given based on audience voting – our experience in 2018 was that the audience polls we took almost exactly matched the judges decisions.

The final winner will be announced at the end of the 3rd week and the winner will receive £5,000 of which £1,000 is cash – to use as they like – and £4,000 of support to extend the social impact of the piece after Edinburgh and widen its audience reach. The support will be tailored to suit the company and issue. The winner will also be offered a showcase at the Park Theatre, London.

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

<!-- SIT-UP is looking for shows that are changing minds. If you think you are eligible then please complete an application form and submit by 31st July 2019. -->

SIT-UP Audience Engagement Award

The SIT-UP Audience Engagement Award with a cash prize of £1,000 will recognise a production or company which has developed or adopted a particularly novel and innovative way of engaging with audiences, or does a really good job of engagement. Please complete an application form if you think you might be eligible and tell us what you are doing that is special or very effective.

SIT-UP Tickets Scheme

We will underwrite the cost of several tickets for shows that can demonstrate that they have access to a relevant audience who would benefit from seeing their show. This could, for example, be to provide tickets for homeless people to a play about homelessness or charity workers to a play relevant to their activity.

When we provide tickets, we require the production company to provide feedback on the benefits achieved. We trialled this in 2018 with great success - as one audience member who took part said  "really made me think of the impact I have had on my own family." And that is what we want to achieve - provide help and insight to those affected by the issue.

The overall number of tickets we can underwrite will be limited so it's likely to be on a first come basis.

If you wish to take advantage of this scheme then please complete an application form and submit by 31st July 2019.

SIT-UP & Talk

We want to create a more active post-show discussion climate as this is a very effective way to engage with audiences. We are encouraging productions to do this more and get members of their cast or creative crews to meet with audiences just after performances end.  We have been in touch with venues about how to facilitate these and although it is not possible to hold these in the space due to tight turn around times, venues are happy for them to be held informally elsewhere, e.g. bars. We can also introduce charities, keen to be involved with productions, to provide relevant material. So get in touch if you need any help or guidance.

Awards Criteria

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.