All Of Me, by Caroline Horton, is the winner of the 2019 Mental Health Fringe Award, it was announced today.
The Mental Health Fringe Award, now in its third year, is presented by the Mental Health Foundation in recognition of the most compelling new show about mental health at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The award is supported by the Tron Theatre and the Scotsman newspaper and is presented at the annual Scotsman Fringe Awards.
All Of Me will be supported to return to Scotland in May 2020 as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF), in partnership with the Tron Theatre’s Mayfesto programme.
All Of Me, a vivid portrayal of living with depression from the creator of Mess and You’re Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy, was chosen from a long list of over 40 shows, and a final shortlist of seven.
Andrew Eaton-Lewis, arts lead for the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Over the past few years, mental health has become a consistent theme at the Edinburgh Fringe, as a wider variety of artists, from comedians to playwrights to cabaret performers, have created an ever broader range of work exploring the subject. This award was set up both to recognise that and to encourage and support the creation of new work.
“This year’s short-list represents some of the most dynamic, engaging, moving and profound new artistic work about mental health at this year’s festival, both from people we have had the pleasure of working with before, like Richard Gadd and Bryony Kimmings, to exciting new names like Eva O’Connor and Emilie Hetland. These shows play an important role in challenging stigma, asking difficult questions, and starting new conversations about mental health. All of them deserve your attention.
“Ultimately though there can only be one winner, and we are delighted to invite Caroline Horton to bring her show All of Me to the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival next year. It’s one of the most extraordinary, brave, vivid and uncompromising portrayals of living with depression that I’ve ever seen. It’s a difficult show to watch in some ways – it doesn't offer catharsis, or a narrative of recovery, but it’s all the more powerful for that, thanks to Caroline’s honesty about her experiences and also her refusal to sugar-coat them in any way.”
The shortlist for the 2019 Mental Health Fringe Award consists of the following seven shows:
All Of Me (Summerhall)
An uncompromising and unforgettable portrayal of living with depression, Caroline Horton’s show uses mythological storytelling to take her audience on a vivid journey into the ‘underworld’ of mental illness.
A Short Cut to Happiness (Zoo Playground)
A motivational speaker who wants to ‘cancel depression’ has to face up to the memory of traumatic experience from her teenage years, in Emilie Hetland’s poignant – and often very funny – one-woman show.
Baby Reindeer (Summerhall)
Richard Gadd’s powerful debut play builds on his Edinburgh Comedy Award-winning show Monkey See Monkey Do with a brutally honest exploration of multiple traumas, as he shares the story of how the legacy of a sexually assault contributed to a destructive relationship with a stalker.
I’m a Phoenix, Bitch (Pleasance)
After confronting her partner’s depression in the acclaimed Fake It ‘Til You Make It, Bryony Kimmings now tells the story of her own breakdown after their relationship floundered and their baby son became critically ill, in her bravest and most theatrically ambitious show to date.
Life Is No Laughing Matter (Summerhall)
In one of the warmest, funniest shows about depression at this year’s Fringe, Demi Nandhra finds solace in her partner and her dog - both of whom are on stage with her – while highlighting some of the issues associated with being a woman of colour living with mental health.
‘My mind turns to mustard’ is the repeated refrain in Eva O’Connor’s richly evocative, beautifully performed monologue about a young Irish woman falling in love, having her heart broken, and retreating into a rare form of self-harm.
SK Shlomo: Surrender (Underbelly)
SK Shlomo is a successful beatboxer who has performed with Damon Albarn, Lily Allen and Jarvis Cocker, but when he took time out two years ago to make his own album he instead sank into depression and was ultimately diagnosed with PTSD relating to unresolved childhood trauma. Surrender is a brave, candid show in which he opens up about that experience while demonstrating the extraordinary skills that made him successful in the first place.
The shortlist, and winner, was chosen by a panel of judges consisting of Andrew Eaton-Lewis (arts lead, Mental Health Foundation, and Edinburgh festivals editor, The Scotsman), Andy Arnold (director, Tron Theatre), Yasmin Sulaiman (writer, former director of Creative Edinburgh, and former editor of The List), Tim Cornwell (arts journalist) and Linda Irvine (strategic programme manager, NHS Lothian)