Edinburgh Untapped Award

For the past two years August just hasn't been the same.

We’ve missed seeking out the most exciting new shows and breaking ground with them at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Well, bore no more! New Diorama and Underbelly’s Untapped Award is back for 2022 to support new and established theatre companies like never before. We’re teaming up with Methuen Drama to supercharge the offer, making Untapped a genuinely game-changing opportunity.

We've been on a nationwide search for the best early- and mid-career theatre companies who want to perform at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe - and we've selected four of the very best.

Untapped Award Winners 2022

The winners of the 2022 Untapped Awards are:

Chalk Line Theatre: Blanket Ban

“Sometimes I’m afraid of this play.”

Malta: Catholic kitsch, golden sun, deep blue sea, Eurovision - and a blanket ban on abortion.

Propelled by three years’ of interviews with anonymous contributors and their own lived experience, actors and activists Marta and Davinia interrogate Malta’s restrictions on the freedom of women. What does it mean for your home to boast the world’s most progressive LGBTQIA rights, leading transgender laws – and a population that is almost unanimously anti-choice?

A rallying cry from award-winning Chalk Line Theatre.

ChewBoy Productions: Caligari

Tonight, a new Caligari comes to life – accompanied by a five-piece band.

Off West End Award-winning ChewBoy Productions present their minty-fresh take on a German horror cult-classic. Five actor-musicians reimagine the seminal silent film, this time with the doctor’s victims taking centre stage. 

Embracing the long shadows and broad brushstrokes of German expressionism, ChewBoy’s Caligari exposes parallels between post-war Weimar and the UK today – an ever-widening class divide, a subconscious need for a tyrant, and an unwillingness to rebel against deranged authority.

Ugly Bucket: Good Grief

A dying man’s last wish: for his friends to create a show about death.

Will it be subtle? Will it be sophisticated? Probably not, but it’s his funeral. Literally.

Multi award-winning physical comedy company Ugly Bucket process the death of a friend in the only way they know how – through a kinetic maelstrom of outrageous clowning, personal testimony and a thumping techno soundtrack.

Ugly Bucket are thrilled to present this hilarious gut-punch of a show.

Max Percy + Friends: This is Not a Show About Hong Kong

This is not a physical theatre piece about the disappearance of a city and its people. It's not about the effects of censorship brought by the National Security Bill, nor is it about the loss of freedom in the Special Administrative Region.


This is a show about that deep, sinking, helpless feeling that we can't quite put into words. 


Everything is fine.


Max Percy + Friends are not here.

About The Untapped Award:

The Untapped Award entitles the winners to:

  • £5,000 cash
  • A prime venue and time slot at Underbelly for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe
  • A preferential box office split and no venue fees or deposit 
  • Free rehearsal space at NDT Broadgate
  • Marketing and PR support featuring design by the brilliant Guy J Sanders 
  • The option to have their production published by Methuen Drama including a separate commission fee
  • Relaxed and fully-funded captioned performances at the Festival
  • Support, guidance and advice from a team with extensive experience of the Edinburgh Festivals

Previous winners of the Untapped Award include:

Breach Theatre’s Fringe First and Stage Award-winning historical drama It’s True It’s True It’s True, which went on to tour nationally and internationally, was performed at the Barbican and was filmed for broadcast by the BBC. 

Nouveau Riche’s Stage Award-winning Queens of Sheba, which toured extensively and went on to enjoy four sold-out runs at Soho Theatre - their latest show For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy has just extended a critically acclaimed run at the Royal Court Theatre. 

Other previous winners include ThisEgg’s dressed which won a Fringe First award and went on to tour nationally, and BurntLemon’s Tokyo Rose, which toured extensively and recently enjoyed a successful run at Southwark Playhouse.

What's On Offer?

An Excellent Venue Deal
A great venue & time for each show, plus an enhanced 65/35 box office split with no venue deposit or guarantee.

Cash Investment & Rehearsal Space
Each Untapped company gets £5,000 in cash towards travel and accommodation, plus an offer of free rehearsal space at our NDT Broadgate venue (subject to dates and availability).

Press & Marketing
PR gurus Borkowski will run campaigns for all shows. Underbelly will provide access to their flyering team for all groups and outdoor poster boards. And every company will get a show image created by NDT’s graphic artist mastermind, Guy J Sanders.

New for 2022, each company has the option to have their production published by Methuen Drama including a separate commission fee and agreement beyond the award.

All Untapped shows will receive relaxed and fully-funded captioned performances at the Festival.


UPDATE: The 2022 shortlist was as follows (* indicates the winning groups).

1. Surfacing - Asylum
2. Blanket Ban - Chalk Line Theatre*
3. Caligari - ChewBoy Productions* 
4. Who’s In The Room? - demo theatre collective 
5. My Grandma’s A Walrus - Dirty Mango
6. HEN - Dynamic Menace
7. Finding Percy Erebus - Elephant Talk Theatre
8. Ghosts of the Near Future - emma + pj
9. Move Fast and Break Things - Freight Theatre
10. DINK - Little but Fierce
11. A Shanty For An Atomic Town - Obscura Theatre
12. WILD ONION - Orange Skies Theatre
13. Whisky, Eggs & Lemonade - Ragged Trouser Theatre
14. Pepi and Me - Sason
15. HEXENHAMMER - Secretariat

The shortlisting process: 
Every year, UK arts professionals help us shortlist applications - giving us insight in their networks and regions. Alongside the New Diorama, Underbelly and Methuen Drama teams, our Untapped Shortlisting Team for 2022 was:

Ali Prichard, Alphabetti Theatre
Claire Symonds, Capital Theatres
Dominic GarfieldHighRise Theatre
Emily Davis, Farnham Maltings
Jodie Gilliam, Shubbak
Joe Sellman-LeavaWorklight Theatre
Nikhil Vyas, Freelance Theatre-Maker
Nikita Karia, Bush Theatre
Sam DunstanFreelance Theatre-Maker
Sarah Jordan VergheseNouveau Riche
Yolanda Mercy, Freelance Theatre-Maker

Final Selection

All applicants needed to be available to attend an in-person session at NDT Broadgate in London on Sunday 03 April to show us a short rehearsal room extract of their work. All groups were paid £200 each for their participation, and we covered travel for those groups coming from outside of London. On the final selection day groups were supported by:

Lesley Cobbina, Arts Project Assistant, New Diorama
Tsipora St.Clair Knights, Arts Project Assistant, New Diorama

And the final selection panel consisted of:

David Byrne, Artistic Director, New Diorama
Aisling Galligan, Festival Programmer, Underbelly
Shankho Chaudhuri, Staff Associate Designer, New Diorama
Gregor Cubie, Head of Strategy & Planning, Borkowski
Serena Grasso, Commissioning Editor, Plays, Methuen Drama

Reserved Space

We committed that half the Untapped 2022 companies wiould come from backgrounds currently under-represented in our programme, and within the wider theatre industry.

Therefore we reserved space especially for Black, East Asian & South Asian led work, artists from the global majority, low socio-economic class backgrounds, and for disabled or D/deaf led shows.