Perrier shake-up

New plans for top comedy prize

Perrier award organisers are poised to announce major changes to Britain’s most prestigious comedy prize.

Awards director Nica Burns has called a press conference for Wednesday, when she promises to unveil ‘exciting changes for the future’.

Perrier set up the award for the best comedy act on the Edinburgh Fringe 25 years ago, but in that time the face of the festival has changed out of all recognition, and grown immeasurably.

Last year, Burns announced she was planning a major review of the awards, amid the inevitable dissent about the judging criteria.

New categories separating stand-up and characters, as well as an honour for visiting international acts, were among the proposals she put forward to reinvigorate the awards.

She has since canvassed the opinions of those who work in the comedy industry, and their responses will no doubt have influenced this week’s announcement.

The last change to the Perrier was in 1992, when a newcomer category was created – and won by Harry Hill.

However in the last three years, the main prize has also been won by a newcomer: character comedian Laura Solon, actor Will Adamsdale for his show Jackson’s Way and New York comic Demetri Martin.

Many comedians have also complained about more fundamental issues that will be harder to address, such as the inherent problems of bringing an element of competition into a subjective art form, and about the ethics of Perrier’s parent company Nestle.

>> Previous Perrier winners


Published: 11 Jun 2006

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