Mary Dick Award: Fringe 2022

We are very excited to be working with Summerhall, to provide this opportunity for a disabled artist, or art collective, to present their work at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022.

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The Mary Dick Award aims to help UK based d/Deaf or disabled artists making new performance work to undertake an Edinburgh Fringe run.  After the cancellation of the Fringe in 2020, Summerhall ran a Crowdfunder campaign with 25% of donations ring-fenced to create bursaries for artists who are under-represented at the Fringe.  The Mary Dick Award is supported by those donations as well as by a grant from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society’s Venues and Artists Recovery Fund. 

This award is a partnership between Summerhall and Birds of Paradise. 

BSL Introduction to Mary Dick Award

About Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise is the only professional, disability-led theatre company in Scotland. The company exists to:

  • make world-class, innovative and accessible work that embeds Creative Access and is made by disabled and non-disabled artists, writers and theatre-makers drawn from diverse cultures to reach a wide demographic nationally and internationally
  • play a key strategic role in Scotland’s theatre ecology and wider arts industry by supporting the sector to nurture the next generation of disabled artists, performers and audiences through addressing barriers to opportunities and involving disabled people in these processes

Birds of Paradise has many years’ experience of success at the Fringe and International Festivals, having won Herald Angels, Fringe Firsts and many other awards, as well as generating extensive onward touring opportunities.  They will offer mentoring to the successful applicant, passing on their experience and helping you to make the best of your Fringe run. 

About Summerhall

“Summerhall has effectively rewired the Fringe.” The Stage

Summerhall is a year round venue presenting work from a wide range of artistic disciplines, including theatre, literature, visual art, music and film. The focus is on high-quality, engaged, experimental work; work that has something to say about the world and is saying it in an interesting way.  Our Fringe programme presents a mix of work from international, British and Scottish artists.  Summerhall has built a loyal audience who are willing to try work in our programmes that is new to them, and is popular with programmers looking for work for onward touring.  It has won multiple awards in its ten years as a festival and year-round venue, most recently Outstanding Venue at The Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2019.

After the cancellation of Fringe 2020 and a radically scaled-down 2021 Fringe, we are looking forward to being able to welcome more artists and audiences back to Summerhall in 2022 and to being able to support some under-represented artists to take up the opportunity of a Fringe run.  

Who was Mary Dick anyway?  

Summerhall’s building was previously The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.  Although it was named after William Dick, he set up and ran the college with his sister Mary.  She kept an eagle eye on the finances and the students and remained associated with the Dick Vet until her death at the age of 92.  Being female,  she doesn’t get the credit she deserves, and we thought it would be nice to celebrate her.   

Who Can Apply

We are looking for work meeting the following criteria:

  • High quality, engaged, contemporary performance (including theatre, dance, spoken word or live art)
  • Created by artists who identify as d/Deaf or disabled, basing their practice in the UK
  • Artists who are available to undertake an Edinburgh Fringe run and who have the capacity to take advantage of the opportunity 

Click here to learn who we mean when we say “disabled people”

What if some of our team identify as disabled and others do not?  

We are looking to support companies or groups of artists which are disabled-led.  By this we mean that a majority of the team identifies as disabled or d/Deaf.

What is the Award

The details of what the award will actually consist of are:

  • The successful artist or company will receive a £6,000 cash award
  • Summerhall will offer a straight box office split (typically 70% to the company, 30% to the venue – but this depends somewhat on the form of the work) with no minimum amount payable to the venue. 
  • Summerhall will cover the Fringe registration fee
  • Summerhall will offer some in-kind technical and marketing support, but the successful applicant will need to invest in both of those areas 
  • Birds of Paradise will offer mentoring to the successful applicant around presenting at the Fringe and onward touring opportunities
  • Birds of Paradise will also offer some in-kind marketing support
  • Birds of Paradise will offer in-kind and financial support to make your show accessible to audiences 


We will pick the award winner based on the criteria above but we will also consider how well your show fits with Summerhall’s artistic policy and Summerhall’s Fringe programme as a whole, and the practicality of producing the show in a Fringe context. 

The decision panel will include Robert Softley-Gale (Artistic Director) and Mairi Taylor (Executive Producer) from Birds of Paradise and Verity Leigh (Programme Manager) from Summerhall.

How to Apply

For more information and details on how you can apply, please go to the webpage showing below where you will find the Summerhall Fringe 2022 information pack and a link to their festival management portal, Eventotron.

To watch a video walk through of how to navigate using Eventotron, please click the dropdown below.

If you need to apply in a different way because of access requirements, please email letting us know how you would like to submit your application. 

What is the Timescale


We will be in touch with the successful applicant/s by Friday 25 February 2022.  

Any questions?

For more information about taking part in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe please click here

If you have any questions about Summerhall or would like to arrange a site visit please contact Verity Leigh or Tom Forster on