Bryony Kimmings has been presented with the inaugural Popcorn Group Writing Award in association with the Pleasance Theatre for her show I’m a Phoenix, Bitch. Celebrating writing excellence at the Fringe, the Award platforms writers and artists that ignite and challenge the status quo with the most fearless and topical piece of new writing.
I’m a Phoenix, Bitch combines personal stories with epic film, soundscapes and ethereal music to create a powerful, dark and joyful work about motherhood, heartbreak and finding inner strength. It is an important work about the creation of a new legend, an invincible and fearless woman.
As winner of the Popcorn Group Writing Award, Kimmings will receive a cash prize of £2,500 to provide support to further develop her talent.
All works of new writing part of Pleasance’s festival programme were eligible and the shortlist was selected by a committee including Emmy nominated actress Lena Headey; Michael Longhurst, Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse; Academy Award winning Gareth Ellis-Unwin; director Carrie Cracknell; Enda Walsh, the Tony Award winning playwright; West End producer Francesca Moody; Academy Award winning Gonzalo Maza; writer Tony Grisoni; Penny Martin, the Editor-in-Chief of The Gentlewoman; award winning actor Art Malik; artist Philip Colbert; Popcorn Group co-founder Charlotte Colbert and Head of Popcorn Film and TV, Jessica Malik; and the Pleasance Theatre team, Anthony Alderson, Nic Connaughton, Jonny Patton and Ellie Simpson.
Shortlisted shows included: A Womb of One’s Own by Claire Rammelkamp which explores love, sexual freedom and self-acceptance whilst also aiming to shed light on the unnerving and difficult circumstances surrounding abortion; and Drowning by Jessica Ross, based on the true story of four Austrian nurses that were charged with murdering 49 patients in their beds in 1991.
Charlotte Colbert and Jessica Malik of The Popcorn Group, commented: “We were so inspired by the many talented writers who submitted their work for this award, the standard was impossibly high. We are, however, thrilled Bryony has won the inaugural Popcorn Award for her brave, bold and original writing. She is a hugely inspirational talent and her work is full of power and hope, tackling challenging themes in her own uniquely devastating way. We’re delighted that the Popcorn Group Writing Award is being presented to her this year in order to help support her continuing work and cannot wait to see what she does next.”
Anthony Alderson, director Pleasance Theatre Trust added: “It’s wonderful to see Bryony’s work recognised by this fantastic new award. A stunning production about survival and desperation this is a piece that breaks boundaries and gets to the heart of important conversations. Bryony is a pioneering artist who Pleasance have always been proud to programme.”
Enda Walsh, committee member, said: “Bryony’s piece is so honest and real – altogether its own complete thing. I think she’s a genius. I found I’m a Phoenix, Bitch to be beautiful and full of humanity.”