The University’s talented all-male dance company will find out next week if they have scopped a prestigious Times Higher Education Award.

Edge FWD, who took the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival by storm in the summer, are competing for the Excellence and Innovation in the Arts title in the ‘Oscars’ of the higher education sector against five other universities.

The winner of the 2012 award will be announced on 29th November at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane.

This award aims to recognise the collaborative and interdisciplinary work that is taking place in universities to promote the arts. Edge FWD has been nominated in light of the positive and influential impact of their work.

The company was established by the University’s Performing Arts Department to encourage young men to feel confident about dancing and to highlight dance as a career choice.

Described as being “excellent advocates for the courses at Edge Hill which they promote with honesty and drive”, they also break down stereotypes often associated with the male dancer.

Company Director Debbie Milner, senior lecturer in Dance at Edge Hill, said: “Its success in the department has led to the company going on to champion dance for men across the UK.

“The strong, proactive young men in the troupe are more than just excellent performers; they are outstanding male role models for a younger generation of boys. Their work is versatile, challenging and appeals to a wide audience-base. They have established a national reputation for achieving the standards expected of a professional dance practice, whilst celebrating and promoting the values of the university sector.”

Their shortlisting follows their astounding success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where they received rave reviews from art critics and their excited audiences for their show, A Beautiful Hell.

Professor George Talbot, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of Faculty of Arts & Sciences, said: “Innovation is in Edge Hill University’s DNA. We have supported the company in its activities, acknowledging its potential for challenging perceptions, widening participation and highlighting the benefits of higher education. The success of Edge FWD is exciting. To be shortlisted in the Oscars of the education world is a real honour and an excellent achievement in such a strong field.  Their nomination is testimony to their talents, hard work and commitment and I’m confident they will continue to make a huge impact on male dancing in the UK.”

For further information about studying Dance at Edge Hill University, visit