Revealed: Dublin Fringe Festival 2022 award winners

This year’s festival, the 28th, staged 586 performances of 64 productions in 27 venues across the city

Absent the Wrong, a play about adoption, history and the search for identity, has been named best production at this year’s Dublin Fringe Festival.

Written by Dylan Coburn Gray, directed by Veronica Coburn and staged in the Abbey Theatre’s Peacock space, it is in part a response to the publication of the report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, in January 2021.

It received its award, along with the winners of 12 other categories, at a ceremony in Dublin on Sunday evening, a day after the end of a festival that featured 586 performances of 64 productions in 27 venues across the city.

The event’s director, Ruth McGowan, said: “It’s been a festival to remember, marked by the extraordinary ambition on show from this year’s more than 400 artists. At Dublin Fringe Festival we believe artists make a city worth living in. Our 28th festival demonstrated exactly how, as they made magic all over the city’s map, leaving over 32,000 audience members with a sense of new possibility and enriched by the joy of shared experience.”

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Best production

Presented by Dublin Fringe Festival to the show that has it all, displaying excellence in every area of production, design, performance, concept and execution. This award acknowledges the enormous work and talent poured into presenting work at the festival and honours the comprehensive production.

  • Winner: Absent the Wrong by Dylan Coburn Gray

Other shortlisted nominees

  • Accents by Emmet Kirwan, Eoin French and Claire O’Reilly
  • Corrupting Care by David McGovern
  • Oliver Cromwell is Really Very Sorry by Xnthony
  • Wake by Thisispopbaby

Best design

Presented for outstanding lighting, sound, scenic, projection, costume or overall design.

  • Winner: Opening Night by Jane Deasy for overall design. Overall design by Jane Deasy, Rachel Ní Chuinn and Sarah Jane Shiels

Other shortlisted nominees

  • 24/7 Bliss by Bluehouse Theatre for set and costume design. Set design by Caoimhe Coburn Gray; costume design by Iseult Deane, Ellen Finnerty and Mazana Ronaldson
  • Accents by Emmet Kirwan, Eoin French and Claire O’Reilly for overall design. Composed by Eoin French; lighting design by Zia Holly
  • Oliver Cromwell Is Really Very Sorry by Xnthony for overall design. Set design by Emma Bailey; sound design by Klong; lighting design by Joshie Harriette; costume design by Joey A Frenette; assistant set design by Pai Rathaya; assistant costume design by Ross Aylward-Tarten
  • Out of the Ordinary/As an Ngnách by Irish National Opera for AV and animation. VR produced by Virtual Reality Ireland; VR creative produced by Algorithm
  • Remnant Ecologies by Jony Easterby for production, lighting, sculpture and sound design. Design by Jony Easterby; additional sculpture by Pippa Taylor; lighting design by Harriet Wallace
  • Wake by Thisispopbaby for costume design. Costume design by Julian Smith

Best performers

Two of the festival’s brightest stars and best performers take home this much sought-after accolade from a field of up to 10 nominees.

  • Winner: Charlotte McCurry in Lie Low by Ciara Elizabeth Smyth
  • Winner: Felicia Olusanya in Wake by Thisispopbaby

Other shortlisted nominees

  • Alison Arnopp in Oliver Cromwell Is Really Very Sorry by Xnthony
  • Emer Dineen in Wake by Thisispopbaby
  • Emmet Kirwan in Accents by Emmet Kirwan, Eoin French and Claire O’Reilly
  • Lórcan Strain in Oliver Cromwell Is Really Very Sorry by Xnthony, and in The Wind That Shakes the Wig by Candy Warhol
  • Philip Connaughton in Wake by Thisispopbaby
  • Rosa Bowden in Frigid by Bump&Grind Theatre Co
  • Rosie Stebbing in Test 1 by Rosie Stebbing and Ornella Dufay-Miralles
  • Síomha McQuinn in Coffee Kid by Síomha McQuinn

Best ensemble

Sometimes it’s the entire cast that makes a show. Introduced in 2014, this award recognises the ensemble as the standout — the heartbeat of a project or show.

  • Winner: Oliver Cromwell Is Really Very Sorry by Xnthony. Cast: Alison Arnopp, Iestyn Arwel, Sé Carr, Lórcan Strain and Xnthony

Other shortlisted nominees

  • Absent the Wrong by Dylan Coburn Gray. Cast: Jolly Abraham, Curtis-Lee Ashqar, Sheikh Bah, Noelle Brown, Caoimhe Coburn Gray, Kwaku Fortune, Colleen Keogh, Sophie Lenglinger, Leah Minto and Emmanuel Okoye
  • Hive City Legacy: Dublin Chapter by Lisa Fa’alafi, Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers, Yami Löfvenberg with the Hive City Legacy Dublin ensemble. Cast: Jess Kav, Alessandra Azevedo, Osaro Azams, Deborah Dickenson, Shauna Harris, Venus Patel, Tatiana Santos and Andrea Williams
  • Wake by Thisispopbaby. Cast: Adam Matthews, Aisling Ní Cheallaigh, Alma Kelliher, Bryan O’Connell, Darren Roche, Deirdre Griffin, Felicia Olusanya, Jade O’Connor, Lisette Krol, Lucia McPartlin, Michael Roberson, Philip Connaughton, Emer Dineen and Tobi Omoteso

Fishamble new writing

Honouring the best play by a new or emerging Irish (or Ireland-based) writer for a new play premiered during Dublin Fringe Festival. This award includes dramaturgical support as appropriate, such as a scholarship place on one of Fishamble’s acclaimed playwriting courses, generously supported by Fishamble: The New Play Company.

  • Winner: Tom Moran is a Big, Fat, Filthy, Disgusting Liar by Tom Moran

Other shortlisted nominees

  • Frigid by Rosa Bowden
  • Lie Low by Ciara Elizabeth Smyth
  • The Perfect Immigrant by Samuel Yakura

First Fortnight

Since its inception, in 2009, First Fortnight’s mission has been to challenge prejudice and end stigma about mental-health issues, challenging prejudice and ending stigma through the creative arts. The winner will perform at the next First Fortnight Festival, in January 2023.

  • Winner: Oops This Is Toxic by Julie Jay

Other shortlisted nominees

  • Blister by Síofra O’Meara
  • The Rest Rooms by Áine O’Hara
  • Without Sin by Unqualified Design Studio

Next Stage wild card

Dublin Fringe awards a bursary to an artist who has been part of the festival, enabling them to participate in the Next Stage, an artist development programme run by Dublin Theatre Festival in partnership with Theatre Forum.

  • Winner: Léann Herlihy

Axis green arts

Axis Ballymun funds a prize of €1,000 plus targeted support for future productions to help planning and delivery of environmentally aware work.

  • Winner: James Ireland/Bradán Theatre for Cooking the Vegan Salmon of Knowledge

Bewley’s Cafe Theatre little gem

Bewley’s Cafe Theatre sponsors this award for the most exciting show of less than 60 minutes at this year’s Dublin Fringe Festival. The prize is a two-week run at Bewley’s Cafe Theatre, in Dublin, with €2,000 available to the company for remounting the production.

  • Winner: Frigid by Rosa Bowden

Other shortlisted nominees

  • The Perfect Immigrant by Samuel Yakura
  • Oh, Brother by Callum Maxwell
  • Blister by Síofra O’Meara

Spirit of Wit: Moira Brady Averill award

A unique award for an artist willing to take risks and whose work defies categorisation with bold and unconventional material. In memory of Moira Brady Averill, who had the power to transform space and thought through alchemic wit.

  • Winner: Goblingoblinsgoblins in Klankety Klank by Sissy That Pod x Phoning It In ... and Platforms by Platforms Collective

Other shortlisted nominees

  • Michael Fry and Killian Sundermann in An Evening with Michael Fry & Killian Sundermann
  • Síomha McQuinn in Coffee Kid by Síomha McQuinn

Radical spirit

Copresented by Dublin Fringe Festival and Project Arts Centre. This commissioning award is for an Irish artist dedicated to making bold, contemporary work and who embodies the radical spirit of both Fringe and Project.

  • Winner: Áine O’Hara

The Listowel Residency: ‘The George Fitzmaurice Award’

St John’s Theatre is a venue dedicated to nurturing new talent. It is collaborating with the experimental theatre maker Richard Walsh to create a programme of works that will make Listowel a hub for experimental art in rural Ireland. This award will connect an experimental artist with an original voice with St John’s Theatre via a two-week residency. The prize includes a €1,500 bursary, workspace and travel/ accommodation.

Winner: Dafe Orugbo for Filmore!

Other shortlisted nominees

  • Rosie Stebbing and Ornella Dufay-Miralles for Test 1

Judges’ choice

Instituted in 2014, this award recognises three winners this year whose projects or contributions defy categorisation but must be recognised for their brilliance.

  • Winner: Hive City Legacy: Dublin Chapter by Lisa Fa’alafi, Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers, Yami Löfvenberg with the Hive City Legacy Dublin ensemble
  • Winner: Wake by Thisispopbaby
  • Winner: Test 1 by Rosie Stebbing and Ornella Dufay-Miralles

This year’s judges

  • Ali Hardiman, chairperson of the 2022 Dublin Fringe judging panel, actor and writer
  • Amanda Adé, digital creator, podcast host and activist from Kildare. She is also the creative director of Black and Irish
  • Amy Conroy, actor, playwright, and theatre maker
  • Cathal Cleary, theatre director
  • Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan, writer, performer, and cultural consultant
  • Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, writer, performer and arts facilitator
  • Emily Aoibheann, artist, aerialist, director and mentor
  • Eve D’Alton, technical and production manager/head of lighting at the Lir Academy
  • Jack Colley, aka Baliboc, DJ and club promoter
  • Michelle Reid, arts programme lead at Business to Arts/Fundit.ie
  • Pea Dineen, playwright, theatre maker and performer
  • PJ Kirby, queer multidisciplinary creative/dance artist
  • Rachel Ní Bhraonáin, artist of multidisciplinary work and short films
  • Shane Daniel Byrne, writer, actor, MC and award-winning stand-up comedian
  • Stephen Quinn, award-winning theatre and queer performance maker