Every year, Dublin Fringe Festival selects a panel of experts from Irish cultural life to become Fringe Award Judges. They are tasked with choosing nominees and recipients for the prestigious awards. Fringe Awards recognise, reward and celebrate the talent on display at our festival each year. This year, 645 artists are involved in making work at Fringe. We want to celebrate the stand-outs. Some awards are tied to cash or further presentation opportunities. Others involve support from other organisations and some are worth the laurels themselves.
Take a look at the amazing judges lending Fringe their brains, energy and heart:
Alison Spittle is an award-winning writer and comedian. She is the creator and star of the television series Nowhere Fast (RTÉ 2). She has performed at numerous festivals including the Vodafone Comedy Festival at the Iveagh Gardens, Body & Soul, Electric Picnic and Kilkenny Cat Laughs.
Amy O'Connor is a journalist and writer based in Dublin. She has written for Irish Times, TheJournal.ie, Irish Independent, Totally Dublin and others. Outside of journalism, she was a credited writer on the most recent season of long-running comedy series 8 Out of 10 Cats.
Aonghus Óg McAnally is an actor, writer and director from Dublin. He works across theatre and film, is a prolific voice-over artist, and is also host and lead commentator for OTT Wrestling. He is Artistic Director of Rise Productions, and creator of the year-long Rise Productions: Irish Theatre Podcast project.
Camille Lucy Ross is an actor, writer, improvisor and Artistic Director of Brazen Tales productions. She’s performed in ten Fringe productions, three of which she also wrote/created and produced. She won the Little Gem Award for her Pocket Music and the First Fortnight Award for Big Bobby. Little Bobby.
Claire O'Reilly is a theatre director based in Dublin and Bristol. She is a co-founder of the award-winning MALAPROP Theatre, whose work includes LOVE+ (Winner of the Spirit of Fringe 2015) and Everything Not Saved (Winner of the Georganne Aldrich Heller Award Dublin Fringe 2017). She is a current MA student in directing at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and occasionally presents the weather for RTÉ, lol.
Colm Carney is an arts administrator and worked at Fringe from 2013 to 2017. He has worked in various roles with arts festivals and organisations throughout Ireland and currently works as administrator at The Lir Academy in Dublin.
Diego Fasciati is the Executive Director of the recently established Irish National Opera. Originally from Switzerland he has held executive positions at Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre Company, The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Rough Magic Theatre Company.
Dylan Roche has spent the last ten years working in the advertising industry. He is presently head of operations in Ireland's most awarded creative agency Boys and Girls. He began his career in the print business, where he frequently squeezed album covers, flyers and posters onto the presses in between the annual reports. There was also a musical interval of a few years when he played the drums and toured with Dublin band The Chalets.
Emma Matthews is a Board Member of the charity First Fortnight, which seeks to challenge stigma and prejudice associated with mental health through arts and cultural action. By day, Emma works with the student societies in TCD, facilitating diverse and innovative events and activities throughout the year.
John Doran is an actor and writer. His acting work includes Show in a Bag, It Folds at the Abbey Theatre, Snow Queen at Smock Alley Theatre, The Aeneid for Collapsing Horse and Romeo & Juliet at the Gate Theatre. Writing/devising work includes FOLK, The Centre of the Universe and Harbour.
Kalle Ryan is a writer and performance poet from Waterford (with Swedish roots). For almost a decade he has curated and MCd one of Dublin’s most popular arts nights “the brownbread mixtape”. He is a co-founder and director of LINGO, Ireland’s first and only spoken word festival. Kalle has written and performed in two award nominated Fringe shows.
Megan Riordan is the Chair of this year's Judges panel. She performs in things and also makes them. Theatre highlights as an actor include starring as Girl in Once: The Musical; originating the role of Liza Field in Donegal at the Abbey Theatre and RIOT by THISISPOPBABY. Her film and television work includes Paddywhackery, City of Ember, Dead Cat Bounce's Work for RTÉ 2 and An Klondike for TG4. Megan has also worked as a director for theatre.
Rae Moore is an architect, artist and lecturer based in Dublin. She is the recipient of the Irish Design Institutes' overall Emerging Talent Award in 2017, and was listed as one of The Irish Times 50 People to Watch in 2018.
Sharon Greene is a visual artist, designer and creative consultant. Her work spans across many mediums and encompasses a variety of disciplines. She set up Queens of Neon in 2008 as a platform for creative exploration and artistic collaboration. She is co-founder and organiser of the Dublin Flea Market.
Fringe Awards up for grabs this year are Best Production, Best Design, Best Performers, Best Ensemble, Judges' Choice Awards, Fishamble New Writing Award, First Fortnight Award, Next Stage Wild Card, Bewley's Café Theatre Little Gem Award, Spirit of Wit: Moira Brady Averill Award. We're thrilled to introduce a brand new award this year: the Outburst Queer Fringe Award.
Outburst Queer Arts Festival is Belfast's annual explosion of fierce new queer performance, film, theatre, art activism and creative ideas from all over the world. The winner of this award will be invited to bring their work to Belfast as part of the exciting Outburst Queer Arts Festival programme this November. Ruth McCarthy, Artistic Director of Outburst Queers Arts Festival says, "We're dying to share amazing new queer work from the South with audiences up North, so we've hooked up with Dublin Fringe Festival to create the Outburst Queer Fringe Award. We'll be checking out all the queer shows at the Fringe and inviting our favourite to join us for a performance at Outburst in Belfast in November." Ruth McGowan, Festival Director of Dublin Fringe Festival says, "I am so excited to partner with Outburst Queer Arts Festival on this brand new award. Both festivals are committed to championing radical, queer performance, so it’s a great match. I know the winning show will thrill Belfast audiences come November."