NSDF07 in conjunction with The Pleasance launched the first ever Edinburgh Festival Fringe Competition with the promise of finding and transferring the best piece of student new work to The Pleasance in London. The competition was a huge success with the winning show receiving rave reviews. NSDF08 and The Pleasance would like to run this competition again in August 2008 to ensure that even more young people and emerging artists benefit.
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NSDF07 saw over 40 pieces of student new work, directly helping and advising over 800 students. NSDF07 then short-listed 8 shows which received commendations at the Awards, led by Mark Ravenhill, and also were offered the chance to meet Literary Managers of both Paines Plough and The Bush Theatre to discuss furthering their writing careers. It is hoped that in NSDF08 both companies will again be involved in helping the students continuing their writing. After a careful selection process The Pleasance and NSDF07 gave the award to Tony! The Blair Musical from York University. Tony! The Blair Musical transferred to The Pleasance, Islington for four performances, 19th ‚Äì 22nd September 2007. The show received packed houses and sold out the last night and received a 4 star review from The Evening Standard. As agreed the company was awarded ¬£1000 from NSDF and support-in-kind from The Pleasance who offered up their theatre and staff for free. NSDF feels that because the competition was such a huge success and helped so many people it is massively important that it is able to run it again in 2008. Chris Bush the Writer of Tony! The Blair Musical said: "The NSDF's Edinburgh competition is a phenomenal and unique opportunity, and one that I was absolutely thrilled to be involved with. I believe it's absolutely fundamental to take student theatre seriously, and so chances to perform in professional spaces, especially somewhere as well equipped and respected as the Pleasance is absolutely crucial for young artists trying to develop their work and break into the industry. Where this scheme has got it spot on is that it takes into account not only the artistic merit of student work (which is still perhaps the highest priority) but the practicalities of running a successful show. It's not just a chance for actors, directors and writers to show off their talents - this can be done anywhere - but it provides the opportunity and the challenge of honing every aspect of a production to a professional and marketable standard, as well as giving a platform with a high enough profile for serious industry professionals and critics to take notice. Since having my show at the Pleasance I've made contacts and forged links with theatres that would otherwise have never been available to me. I owe an awful lot to the NSDF for giving myself and my company such a wonderful head start at the beginnings of our professional careers.‚Äù NSDF08 would like to build on this success in 2008 and repeat a London transfer to The Pleasance with the 2008 winning show and possibly invite some of the writers of the short-listed shows to work on shorter pieces and create a scratch night event to be presented along side the main show
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