Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

Biggest Cash Prize on the Fringe! Ever!

The Biggest Cash Prize on the Fringe! Ever! 

The David Johnson Emerging Talent Award 

£11,000 Prize to Winner on 28th August 2022 

 The David Johnson Emerging Talent Award aims to celebrate the life of maverick producer David Johnson who died in 2020. The cash prize, which comes with no strings, will be presented to a performer/show on 28th August at a mixed bill comedy show at 6pm at the Gordon Aitken Theatre.  

“David Johnson made me realise showbiz could be both fair and fun, which was all I ever wanted from it. Stewart Lee 

David Johnson (DJ) was a fixture on the Fringe for over 30 years. DJ’s ‘fringe finds’ included Graham Norton, Puppetry of the Penis, and bars that were still open at breakfast time. He produced scores of shows on (and off) the Fringe including The Rubberbandits, Sue Perkins, Alfie Brown, Fascinating Aida, The Reduced Shakespeare Company, Malcolm McLaren, Stewart Lee, Alexei Sayle, Christeene, Kim Noble, Sandi Toksvig, Mark Almond, Mark Ravenhill and many others. He was a Trustee of the Pleasance Theatre Trust and an Associate Artist at Soho Theatre but he was mostly known for his raucous laughter, his generosity of wallet and his unnerving ability to spot an unexpected hit. His flair for commercial theatre was matched by – and often combined with – his fervent support for new and emerging artists. The award will be made that that spirit.   

His enthusiasm became your enthusiasm. His optimism became the engine of the work. If he believed in you, you felt like you could fly.”  Sue Perkins 

A team of scouts lead by Helen Hawkins (arts and culture journalist) will recommend potential recipients during the first 3 weeks of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A winner will be selected during the last week of the festival and the inaugural DJ ETA presentation will take place on 28th August. You are warmly invited to join us for this anti-announcement – the line-up for this show will also, naturally, reflect DJ’s taste for the unusual and the wonderful. But you will have to buy a ticket as proceeds from the event will be ploughed back into the DJ ETA fund!  

“This prize will keep DJ’s flame fiercely leaping” Stephen Fry 

The inaugural DAVID JOHNSON EMERGING TALENT AWARD event – Fringe comedy and cabaret at the highbrow/lowbrow interface! Line-up will include popular fringe performers including comedian Stewart Lee and cabaret queen Dillie Keane, very special guests plus the brightest and the best of emerging Fringe talent!         

“Possessed of absolute theatrical nous and intellectual curiosity:  a stalwart champion of the new, the marginal and the edgy, DJ loved performance that had the power to shock, but only so long as it was true.”  Dillie Keane 

Ends                                                                                                                                                For further information please contact Sally Homer 07973 14127 


VENUE: Assembly George Square, Gordon Aikman Theatre 

DATES: 28th Aug 

TIME: 18:00 (60 mins) 

TICKETS: £16.50 (£15.50) plus booking fees  

BOOKING: 0131 623 3030,  

Notes to editors:  


A show/performer/creative independent performing for at least 18 performances in Edinburgh, in August on the Free Fringe or registered with the Fringe Society. There are no genre constraints.  

Where does the money come from?  

The prize money was donated by David’s friends, family, and colleagues via crowdfunding after his death. Donate to the fund here: We have not received any donations from the Bin Laden family. 

SCIO registration pending.