Dugsi Dayz takes top prize of the Popcorn Writing Award 2023, winning £3,000 of the £6,000 prize fund along with support from the production company and the BBC Writersroom.
Written by Sabrina Ali, this hilarious and authentic exploration of friendship between Somali girls is a joyful and rebellious snapshot of British Muslim culture.
The winner and finalists were announced at a ceremony at The Gilded Balloon Library Bar on Thursday 24th August at 12.30pm where all nominees and performers were present. The award was presented by Charlotte Colbert, Natalie Denton of the Popcorn Group as well as Jess Loveland of the BBC Writersroom and awarded by last year’s winner Karim Khan of Brown Boys Swim.
Sabrina Ali says, Winning the Popcorn Award leaves me truly speechless. Just a year after writing ‘Dugsi Dayz,’ I never imagined I’d be at the Edinburgh Fringe, let alone accepting the popcorn award . This achievement owes everything to my incredible directors, cast and producers, who breathed magic into ‘Dugsi Dayz.’ A special shout-out to KAYD art organisation! Who took a chance on me as an emerging writer, thank you all for making this journey unforgettable.
The Popcorn Group partnered once again with BBC Writersroom for this year’s awards, offering valuable one-to-one meetings with each of the longlisted playwrights with members of the BBC Drama Commissioning team.
Jess Loveland, Head of New Writing at BBC Writersroom commented, It’s been a real delight for BBC Writersroom to collaborate with the Popcorn Group on the Popcorn Writing Award for a second year.
The calibre of plays on the longlist is truly remarkable and the bold originality of the work captures the mission of this new writing award. We want to congratulate this year’s winner, Sabrina Ali, for her tender, funny and joyful play, Dugsi Dayz. Huge congratulations are also due to our three shortlisted finalists for their brilliant and inventive work. The Writersroom team are looking forward to meeting and getting to know all the talented writers on this longlist over the coming months.
Charlotte Colbert from the Popcorn Group said, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a pure celebration of human storytelling in all in wondrous diversity and originality. It is a world away from the formulaic algorithmic narratives – a platform for risk-taking new voices which the Popcorn Group is so happy to support in a small way. All the submissions blew us away, but we wanted to especially congratulate the winner and finalists of this year’s award: Dugsi Dayz, Lie Low, The Brief & Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria and Public – The Musical.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a vital springboard for the careers of up-and-coming talent in the arts having in the past launched the careers of creatives such as Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman and Rachel Weisz. The award longlist celebrated new writing from across the Fringe, showcasing the breadth of talent available at this year’s festival.
The prize fund of £6,000 is shared amongst the winner and finalists which include a range of daring, thought-provoking and high calibre new writing from Pleasance, Underbelly and Traverse.
Ciara Elizabeth Smyth’s Lie Low is the first finalist. A dark comedy about a woman, Faye, who’s having trouble sleeping following a break-in at her home, a wild, dark and hilarious new play, directed by Oisín Kearney, that offers a theatrical exploration into the human brain.
Joseph Cullen and Sasha Wilson’s The Brief Life & Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria is the second finalist with an energetic production exploring the suspicious circumstances of the King of Bulgaria’s demise, how 50,000 Jewish people were saved from deportation and death, and how the world forgot all about it. The ensemble performs Bulgarian and Jewish folk tunes live while sharing this unique story from 20th century European history.
Stroud and Notes’ Public – The Musical has received a special mention, with this witty and sensitive new musical created by queer-led theatre collective Stroud and Notes. Through catchy bops and heartfelt ballads, Public – The Musical runs the gamut of contemporary concerns. It candidly explores gender identity, the clogged world of toxic masculinity, allyship, the climate crisis, social media and more as these four strangers have their patience pushed to the limit.