IRISH writer/performer Pat Kinevane was the winner of the first Herald Archangel Award of the 2019 Edinburgh Festivals season at yesterday morning’s ceremony at the Festival Theatre, sponsors of this newspaper’s coveted trophies, established 25 years ago this year.

Kinevane’s show, Before, has been running at Dance Base in the Grassmarket and is the fourth in a series of one-man performances created in partnership with the Irish new writing company Fishamble and directed by Jim Culleton, with music by Denis Clohessy and choregraphy by Emma O’Kane.

He was joined at the Festival Theatre by five Angel-winners and the Russian String Orchestra, who won the first of this year’s Little Devil awards for demonstrating the spirit of “the show must go on” by finding the double bass lost by British Airways, and conveying it into the city by bus in time for their first performance.

Heading the week’s list of Herald Angels - presented by BBC Radio 3’s Donald Macleod, in town to introduce the Festival’s Queen’s Hall recitals before his regular Composer of the Week programmes - was actor James McArdle for his tour-de-force in the title role of Peter Gynt in David Hare’s new adaptation of the Ibsen play for the National Theatre of Great Britain, which had just finished its run at the theatre. Returning to the venue after the cast’s closing night party, McArdle spoke of how important it had been to the cast to bring the play, which specifically opens at Dunoon in Scotland, to its home.

Scottish Ballet was recognised with an award to the choreographer of its new adaptation of Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, Helen Pickett. In a message to the gathering, she thanked her collaborators James Bonas and composer Peter Salem as well as the company’s artistic director Christopher Hampson and the “extraordinary” dancers in “the village of Scottish Ballet”.

Dancer and choreographer Christine Devaney was another winner, for her first solo show in many years, And The Birds Did Sing, with music by Luke Sutherland, presented at Dance Base by the Curious Seed company.

The Traverse Theatre is regularly in attendance at the Angels awards in their first week, and was represented this year by Dritan Kastrati, co-creator, with playwright Nicola McCartney, of How Not To Drown, a play, in which he also performs, based on his own experiences escaping from the war in the Balkans in at the age of 11 and then being subjected to the vagaries of the care system in the UK.

As well as enjoying music from the Russian String Orchestra, with special guest Karen Marshalsay on harp, the gathering also heard a virtuoso performance from piper David Colvin. His Angel-winning Thunderstruck, at Assembly Checkpoint, tells the story of his own piping life, which has included appearing in the National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch, as well as celebrating those who have taught and inspired him, including the late Gordon Duncan, who famously originated the version of the AC/DC tune that gives his show its title.