Underbelly and New Diorama Theatre are announcing a renewed three-year partnership, relaunching their hit-making Untapped award, originally developed in 2018 and aimed at discovering and supporting emerging theatre makers at the Edinburgh Fringe. From 2023, Concord Theatricals also join the partnership, helping supercharge the support offered to diverse-led companies showcasing work at the Edinburgh Fringe.
The resurgent award will see up to three companies receiving £10,000 cash in 2023 – double the amount offered in 2022 – alongside a package of paid-for PR and marketing support, an enhanced Underbelly programming deal, and publication by Concord Theatricals under their UK imprint Samuel French Ltd. The expanded package directly responds to the challenges experienced across the festival by marginalised and under-represented artists attending the festival.
For 2023, the award is presented in partnership with previous Untapped winners Nouveau Riche (Queens of Sheba, For Black Boys…) who will support shortlisting and selecting companies, alongside bespoke workshop, wellbeing and mentoring support for diverse artists attending the Fringe. The Untapped partners will also co-host Nouveau Riche’s Fringe artists of colour drinks, now a staple in the festival diary.
The award has a remarkable record identifying stand-out companies presenting game changing-shows. Previous successes including Fringe First-winner It’s True, It’s True, It’s True by Breach, since adapted for BBC television; Nouveau Riche’s Stage Award-winning Queens of Sheba, recently performed at New York’s Public Theater as part of the prestigious Under the Radar Festival. Most recently, the 2022 cohort included Fringe First-winner This Is Not A Show About Hong Kong by Max Percy & Friends.
New Diorama Theatre artistic director David Byrne said: ‘Without the Edinburgh Fringe I wouldn’t have my career. By working with Underbelly to double the award, bring together these partnerships and support package, we’re doing our part to widen access to this crucial industry platform. This award has always been a driver for new, diverse talent – with three Untapped cohorts winning three Fringe Firsts, two Stage awards, and enjoying national and international tours and transfers. I can’t wait to see what this year’s artists achieve.’
Underbelly co-directors Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood said: ‘Underbelly is thrilled to once again be partnering with New Diorama on the Untapped award, and this year joined by Concord Theatricals and Untapped alumni Nouveau Riche. Edinburgh Fringe is a special place for us, it’s where Underbelly started and where we’ve seen many incredible shows kick start their success in the industry. We have always been committed to supporting and developing new work at the Fringe and the Untapped Award plays a crucial part in achieving this. We cannot wait to see what 2023 will bring.’
Steven Greenhalgh, Vice President of Acquisitions and Artistic Development at Concord Theatricals said: ‘The Edinburgh Fringe is an important part of the UK theatre ecology and this award plays an integral part in making it accessible to artists of all backgrounds. We are excited to offer new opportunities to unheard and marginalised voices, not only through the commissioning and writing process, but crucially ensuring that these plays reach the stage and as wide an audience as possible. We are delighted to be partnering with New Diorama, Underbelly and Nouveau Riche on this exciting and meaningful new step for the Untapped Award.’
Nouveau Riche artistic director Ryan Calais Cameron said: ‘Winning the Untapped Award was completely game-changing for Nouveau Riche. With our winning show Queens of Sheba on tour ever since and now in New York, you can also draw a direct line from the Untapped Award’s support, right through to our upcoming West End debut with For Black Boys Who’ve Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy. We’re delighted to now come back and support the next generation of recipients’.
Applications have now closed for this year’s award.