Caroline Horton wins 2019 Mental Health Fringe Award

23rd Aug 2019

This content mentions sexual assault, trauma and depression, which some people may find triggering.

All Of Me, by Caroline Horton, is the winner of the 2019 Mental Health Fringe Award.

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 (listed below).

Mental Health Fringe Award 2019

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 shortlist 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 Emile 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 deeply 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', in a brutally honest exploration of multiple traumas, as he shares the story of how the legacy of a sexual 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 seriously ill, in her 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.

  • Mustard (Summerhall)

‘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. Surrender is a brave, candid show in which he opens up about that experience while also reminding audiences of the incredible 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).

For further information and interview requests, please contact [email protected] .

Notes for editors

The Mental Health Foundation is the UK’s charity for everyone’s mental health. With prevention at the heart of what we do, we aim to find and address the sources of mental health problems so that people and communities can thrive. The Foundation is a UK charity that relies on public donations and grant funding to deliver its work. It leads on the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, and for the past three years it has also programmed an annual Gala for Mental Health at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival is one of Scotland's most diverse cultural events, covering everything from music, film and visual art to theatre, dance, and literature. Launched in 2007 and led by the Mental Health Foundation in partnership with numerous organisations across Scotland, it has grown into one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world, with over 300 events each year. By engaging with artists, connecting with communities and forming collaborations, we celebrate the artistic achievements of people with experience of mental health issues, exploring the relationship between creativity and the mind, and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. The festival’s innovative approach, combining high quality artistic events with community led programming and a social justice agenda, has been replicated internationally.

The Tron Theatre is one of Scotland’s leading mid-scale producing and presenting theatres, set in the heart of Glasgow's Merchant City. Housing three performance spaces, rehearsal space, offices, a dedicated Tron Participation workshop space and Tron Bar + Kitchen, the building is a vibrant creative hub that bustles with activity year-round. The building is also home to Tron Theatre Company, which stages its own productions as well as presenting co-productions and collaborations.


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Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF)

SMHAF is an internationally respected annual programme to support the arts, explore how engagement in the arts can help prevent mental ill-health and challenge preconceived ideas about mental health.

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