One-man play sweeps the board at Brighton Fringe Awards

Groomed, a powerful play about child abuse written and performed by Patrick Sandford ex-artistic director of Southampton’s Nuffield Theatre, swept the board at the Brighton Fringe Awards last night including picking up Broadway Baby's very own Bobby Award.

Patrick Sandford said he was “completely gobsmacked, amazed and thrilled” by the hat-trick win.

The show, which appeared at Sweet Venues and was part of the Fringe’s WINDOW programme for high quality new work, won the Bobby, Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Award and the Fringe Guru Brighton Fringe Award for Theatre.

Patrick Sandford said he was “completely gobsmacked, amazed and thrilled” by the hat-trick win.

He added: “This has made me realise I have to keep going with the show. It’s a challenging piece and understandably quite hard to sell to audiences but at Brighton Fringe we did a long run and the audience just built over time. It’s the people who produce the show – including my wonderful producer Kate Anderson, my director Nancy Meckler and the charity Mankind – who have made it the success that it is. Brighton Fringe has been utterly brilliant. I would love to come back next year.”

A total of 19 awards were presented at the ceremony, which took place at The Warren on the final evening of Brighton Fringe in front of a 200-strong audience made up of performers, journalists, venue representatives and leading figures from the arts industry. Fringe favourite Boogaloo Stu and Brighton Fringe’s Managing Director Julian Caddy oversaw proceedings.

Other winners include cabaret artist Alfie Ordinary, who won £2,500 to tour his debut show Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous to an international Fringe festival as part of the first ever Pebble Trust International Touring Bursary. Best venue went to Lamb Comedy @ Nowhereman on Upper North Street, a huge achievement for local promoters Lulu Baker and Amy Mac who have only been putting on Lamb Comedy shows at Brighton Fringe for two years.

Each award category was judged by a different organisation with the Argus, HOUSE, South East Dance, Primary Times, the Pebble Trust, Broadway Baby, Fringe Guru, Fringe Review, Gemini Print, the International Youth Arts Festival, Latest 7, First and Foremost Entertainment and Radio Reverb all involved.

Zach & Viggo: Thunderflop won best comedy, It Started with Jason Donovan won best dance act, Press and Release won best visual arts show, The Unbearable Pleasure of Being a Woman won best cabaret, Leaving Home Party won best music show, The Secret Garden won best children’s show and Woodland Tribe won the Spirit of the Fringe award.

Other shows from the WINDOW programme also did well with The Girl Who Fell in Love with the MoonIt’s Okay I’m Dealing With It, Deep in the Heart of Me and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot all receiving nominations.

Julian Caddy, Managing Director of Brighton Fringe, said: “Brighton Fringe is an essential platform for people involved in the arts in all areas, whether they be artists, producers, technicians, box office, front of house, reviewers and much more besides. I’d like to congratulate the winners and nominees, but also to thank the thousands of unsung heroes of this festival and the millions of hours they have put in to make it the success that it is today. The arts world is not always an easy environment in which to work, so to have such an incredible collective energy in one place for an entire month is awe-inspiring.”

Each award winner receives free registration to next year’s Brighton Fringe, and some received additional prizes from their judging organisation.

Brighton Fringe 2016 award nominees and winners

The Argus Fringe Archangel Award

Winner: Casual Violence: Slow Fade to Bleak

Gemini Print: Best Design for Print

Winner: Homophobe

Runner up: Leaving Home Party

Primary Times Children's Choice Award

Winner: The Secret Garden

Nominees: The Moscow State Circus, Flyaway Katie, Arr We There Yet?, Windibops

The Brighton Fringe Visual Arts Award

Winner: Press and Release

Nominees: Culture Ground, Albert Mews Studios

IYAF: Best Young Production

Winner: Sparkleshark

Nominees: Police Cops, The Girl Who Fell in Love with the Moon, Follow Suit, Swan Bake

IYAF: Best Young Comedian

Winner: Police Cops

Nominees: Hercules, Zach and Viggo: Thunderflop, Rahul Kholi: Newcastle Brown Male, Jacob Hawley and Jake Farrell: GABOS

IYAF: Best Children and Family Show

Winner: Mr Candela

Nominees: Windibops, Mr Candela, Ahmed and the Feather Girl, The Sentence Snatchers, The Little Prince

The Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Award

Winners: Groomed and Call Mr Robeson

The Brighton Fringe/Fringe Guru Audience Choice Award Lovingly Sponsored by Citroen

Winner: AGM Back in Business

Nominees: Jane Postlethwaite: Made in Cumbria, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Brighton Gay Men's Chorus, Horace

The Bobby Award

Winner: Groomed

Nominees: The Marlowe Papers, Hip, Airswimming, Not Yet Suffragette

The Space to Dance Award from Southeast Dance

Winner: It Started With Jason Donovan

Nominees: Blushed, It’s Okay I’m Dealing With It, BackStories

Radio Reverb Out in Brighton LGBTQ Brighton Fringe Award

Winner: 5 Guys Chillin’

Nominees: Le Gateau Chocolat: Icons, Hetty the King (and Other Women I have Loved), Dancing in the Dark, Deep in the Heart of Me

The First and Foremost Entertainment Cabaret Award Cabaret

Winner: The Unbearable Pleasure Of Being A Woman

Nominees: Somewhere Under the Rainbow: The Liza Minnelli Story, The Close Shaves, We Can Make You Happy, Briefs

Latest Comedy Award

Winner: Zach & Viggo: Thunderflop

Nominees: Briefs, Jane Postlethwaite: Made in Cumbria

Latest Music Award

Winner: Leaving Home Party

Nominees: Bom Banimals, Carnival Collective, Ellie Ford, Kakande West African Drummers

The Fringe Guru Brighton Fringe Award for Theatre

Winner: Groomed

Nominees: And The Rope Still Tugging Her Feet, Bane, East, The Bookbinder

The Brighton Fringe International Touring Bursary in Association with Pebble Trust Sussex artist Louise Arnell

Winner: Alfie Ordinary: Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous

Nominees: Louise Reay: Que Sera, Hercules, Something Rotten

The Brighton Fringe/Fringe Guru Audience Choice Best Venue Award

Lovingly Sponsored by Citroen

Winner: Lamb @ Nowhereman

Nominees: The Blue Man, 88 London Road, Lamb @ Nowhereman, Latest Music Bar, Sweet Dukebox

The Spirit of the Fringe Award

Woodland Tribe