It was announced today that Jennifer Lunn has been awarded The Popcorn Writing Award 2020 for her play ‘Es and Flo’, and has received a cash prize of £2,500. The other Finalists are Matilda Ibini (awarded £1,500) and Chris Thompson (£1,000) with Camilla Whitehill receiving a Special Mention (£500).
Kit Harington and Tuppence Middleton and Celia Imrie and Sharon D. Clarke and Rory Bremner are the celebrated actors that have filmed extracts of the finalist plays from their homes in lockdown.
The Popcorn Writing Award, with a prize fund of £5,500, was established in 2019 to champion fearless work at the annual Edinburgh Fringe festival which playfully and artistically questions and addresses current affairs, societal trends and contributes positively to public debate.
This year it is awarded to new plays that were scheduled to premiere at the cancelled Fringe and all eligible plays from the Traverse, Assembly, Pleasance, Underbelly, Summerhall and Gilded Balloon were considered for the award.
The winner was selected by a 16-strong committee including Golden Globe winning Ruth Wilson, Olivier nominated producer Francesca Moody, singer/songwriter Aurora, Gonzalo Maza writer of the Academy Award-winning ‘A Fantastic Woman’ and BAFTA-winning actress Wunmi Mosaku.
The committee and the Popcorn Group said that all the winning plays displayed an emotional integrity and strength as well as a brilliant artistic flair. ‘Es and Flo’ by Jennifer Lunn, which was due to be performed at the Traverse Theatre, explores the moving story of a lesbian couple that have secretly been in love and living together for over 30 years when Es begins to show signs of dementia.
It’s a story about generations of women and choosing your own family, kindness and forgiveness and discrimination as Flo is determined to make sure that she and Es are not parted. The extract from ‘Es and Flo’ is performed by Sharon D. Clarke and Celia Imrie, directed by Emma Callander, co-Artistic Director of Theatre Uncut.
Jennifer Lunn said, It’s an absolute honour to receive this award especially in this strange year as we wait to be able to put the play and these characters in front of an audience. A huge thanks to The Popcorn Group for choosing a story celebrating a diverse and intersectional group of women and thanks to Wales Millennium Centre for their unstinting support of this production. And of course, the prize itself is the gift all writers need – time to write. Thank you so much!”
Charlotte Colbert and Jessica Malik of The Popcorn Group, said, “We are delighted that Jennifer has won the award for ‘Es & Flo’. Jen’s play feels particularly relevant right now. It’s such a moving and brave piece about kindness, generations of women coming together, and most of all the strength people find in choosing their own families. We were so inspired by the talent of the writers who submitted their work for the award this year and were proud to pull together such an impressive shortlist. We can’t wait until the day that all these plays are staged.”