who are we

While the winners of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards are decided one fateful evening by nine judges in a room plus the chair, if a casting vote is needed, the preparations for that exciting announcement are going on year round.

Heading up the awards, and therefore responsible for the team of judges, scouts (often former judges) and administrators associated with them, is the awards director and producer Nica Burns who took over running the awards in 1984 and has seen them through the transition between Perrier awards to if.comedy awards and then to The Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

Nica Burns has over 30 years’ experience in the theatre. She read law at UCL, trained at Webber Douglas drama school and was a successful actress before becoming Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, then unfunded, from 1983 – 1989. She was Production Director of Stoll Moss and Really Useful Theatres from 1993 – 2005 programming and running 10 West End theatres. Always entrepreneurial, she has been an independent producer throughout her career, winning many awards. In 2005 she founded Nimax Theatres and co-owns the Palace, Lyric, Apollo, Garrick, Vaudeville and Duchess theatres. She has had a long involvement in the comedy industry as Director of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, formerly the Perrier Awards. Nica has sat on many boards from Sadler’s Wells to the King’s Head Theatre Club. In 2012 Nica, working with her developer partners Derwent London Limited and Crossrail, obtained planning permission to build a new theatre on Charing Cross road. She was appointed Fellow of UCL in 2007, President of the Society of London Theatre from 2008-2011 (she is currently Vice President) and was awarded an OBE for services to theatre in the 2013 New Year’s honours list.

Since 2000, productions include Medea starring Fiona Shaw directed by Deborah Warner (Queens 2001 and Broadway 2002), Feelgood by Alistair Beaton, (Garrick, 2001) Kiss Me, Kate (Victoria Palace, 2001), My Brilliant Divorce starring Dawn French (Apollo, 2004). In 2005, Sitting Pretty by Amy Rosenthal (tour), Christian Slater in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Gielgud), David Suchet in Man and Boy (Duchess), Who’s the Daddy? by Toby Young and Lloyd Evans (King’s Head) and David Schwimmer in Some Girl(s) by Neil LaBute (Gielgud). In 2006, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Apollo), the reprise of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest starring Christian Slater and Alex Kingston (Garrick), Breakfast with Mugabe (Duchess), Fool for Love starring Juliette Lewis (Apollo), See How They Run (Duchess). In 2007, A Moon for the Misbegotten starring Kevin Spacey (Old Vic and Broadway) and Swimming with Sharks starring Christian Slater (Vaudeville). In 2008, Rain Man starring Josh Hartnett (Apollo). In 2009, Three Days of Rain starring James McAvoy (Apollo), Timing by Alistair McGowan (King’s Head), The Rise and Fall of Little Voice starring Lesley Sharp and Marc Warren (Vaudeville) and Endgame starring Mark Rylance and Simon McBurney (Duchess). In 2010, she co-produced Noel Coward’s Design for Living at the Old Vic and When We Are Married at the Garrick. In 2011, Matthew Fox and Olivia Williams in a new Neil Labute play, In a Forest, Dark and Deep at the Vaudeville, Ecstasy by Mike Leigh with Hampstead Theatre at the Duchess, Pygmalion starring Rupert Everett and Kara Tointon at the Garrick, cabaret artist Meow Meow at the Apollo. In 2012, Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night with David Suchet and Laurie Metcalfe (Apollo). In 2013, Tennessee Willian’s Sweet Bird of Youth starring Kim Cattrall (co-production with the Old Vic at the Old Vic), winner of the Best Newcomer Award for Seth Numrich at the Evening Standard Awards 2013. Also in 2013, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (co-production with Chichester Festival Theatre at the Duchess) and The Duck House (Vaudeville) a new comedy by Dan Patterson and Colin Swash starring Ben Miller and Nancy Carroll. In 2014, a trilogy of Beckett plays Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby starring Lisa Dwan (Duchess) and Bakersfield Mist (Duchess) a new play by Stephen Sachs starring Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid. In 2015, Just Jim Dale (Vaudeville) starring Jim Dale. In 2016, Olivier Award winner for Best New Comedy Nell Gwynn staring Gemma Arterton at the Apollo; Hand To God starring Janie Dee, Neil Pearson, Harry Melling, Jemima Rooper and Kevin Mains (Vaudeville). In November 2016, she is co-producing the critically acclaimed political drama This House by James Graham at the Garrick.

Supporting Nica in her work on the Edinburgh Comedy Awards are:

Emma Brünjes – Producer
Laurence Miller – Producer
Kathryn Craigmyle – Assistant Producer.