HERALD Angels presented at the end of the first week of Edinburgh's summers festivals not only rewarded highlights of the current cultural feast but also recognised longstanding relationships as we began a new partnership for the awards with Edinburgh's Festival Theatre.

Fringe chief executive Shona McCarthy was our guest presenter when Sean Gandini, founder of Gandini Juggling, collected the first of 2017's Archangel award for his company's signature combination of the street art with dance. On the 70th anniversary of Partition, they are fusing Indian tradition with juggling in a new show, Sigma, at the Assembly Hall. The company received its first-ever Fringe review from Herald critic Mary Brennan 20 years ago and a Angel award in 2013 for Smashed.

Angel-winners Misha's Gang, identified by Rob Adams as an unmissable musical highlight of the Fringe, also turned out to be old friends of The Herald, an earlier incarnation of Russian conductor Misha Rachlevsky's superb string orchestra having been reviewed at Stirling's Macrobert Arts Centre in 1994.

Loading article content

This newspaper's critics have also been following the development of Noisemaker, musical theatre-makers Scott Gilmour and Claire McKenzie, graduates of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland who have been writing shows for subsequent years of music theatre students that have come to the Fringe. In 2017, their hugely-popular Atlantic: A Scottish Story is the first part of a partnership with Northwestern University of Chicago, playing on alternate days, that explores the story of Scots emigration to North America. Members of the joint company performed one of the songs from the show to open our ceremony at the Festival Theatre on Saturday morning, while Rimsky-Korsakov from Misha's Gang brought the buzzing event to a close.

The migration of Adam Kashmiry from Egypt, where he had been born female, to his current life in Scotland as a young man, was theatre critic Neil Cooper's pick of a number of shows on this year's Fringe exploring transgender stories. Kashmiry, who performs the show with Neshla Caplan playing his younger female self, collected an Angel for the National Theatre of Scotland show, which is playing at the Traverse.

A brave exploration of her own past, as well as refusal to be labelled in the present, is also at the heart of Sophie Willan's show, Branded, at the Pleasance. Collecting her Angel, the comedian thanked Herald critic Gayle Anderson for her praise of her particular combination of stand-up and theatre.

From the opening weekend of the International Festival, Herald Angels went to actor Barry McGovern and his Clare Street company with director Michael Colgan for their definitive version of Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, running for the entire three weeks at the Church Hill Theatre, and to the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for its contribution to the stunning concert performance of Wagner's Die Walkure, where the luxury line-up of star singers has understandably won much of the praise.

In a message to Saturday's gathering, conductor Sir Andrew Davies said: "This was one of the most extraordinary evenings in the concert hall that I’ve ever had anything to do with; fantastic cast, great playing from the RSNO. So for me a really wonderful experience."

Our first Little Devil of 2017, awarded for demonstrating that the show must go on, went to 18-year-old Sophie Dowie, a young dancer currently on crutches after breaking her foot at the dress rehearsal for John Murray's show for Kingdom Theatre, Just Like the Movies. After his swift re-write, and with some film footage of her before the accident, Ms Dowie is nonetheless still part of this year's programme, appearing each evening at Greenside in Infirmary Street.