The_Bonnies_2020_awardees, Grace Nicol, Julie Cunningham, Sue MacLennan, Janine Harrington, Roberta Jean, Charlotte Spencer. Photo: Coralie DattaSharon WatsonWieke Eringa


The Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund is delighted to announce the recipients of The Bonnies 2020 awards. These were announced at the awards ceremony on 13th February 2020 at Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds.

Guests were welcomed by Wieke Eringa (CEO & Artistic Director of Yorkshire Dance) followed by a key note speech by Sharon Watson (Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre), who then presented the awards.

“I congratulate all the winners of The Bonnies this year and also all involved with the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund for accepting my offer of hosting the awards ceremony in Leeds (away from London for the first time), and for initiating change through the fund’s awards. I am proud to be part of this process.” – Sharon Watson

The Lifetime Contribution to Choreography Award has been awarded to Sue MacLennan, current Head of Choreography at London Contemporary Dance School, in recognition of her lifelong contribution to the development of choreography in the UK and beyond.

“I am thrilled, honoured and very surprised to receive this tribute. It has been a huge privilege to work and exchange ideas with so many artists, young and not so young over the years. To learn from those I danced for and those I danced with as well as being able to continue to learn from the brilliant students I encounter now is a great joy.” – Sue MacLennan

The Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award has been awarded to Janine Harrington, a choreographer, performer and writer, whose work draws on research into game structures, play, access, neurodiversity and the poetics of movement practices.

“I am part of a community of artists evolving choreographic thinking and expanding notions of what dance is, can be, where and for whom. There are many of us working tenaciously and with resilience, exploring and sharing different ways of being in the world through our art form. A multiplicity of voices and actions feels urgent in our times. I feel humbled to have been acknowledged in this moment and thank the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund for their support and trust in me to continue to develop my work and make its impact felt further.” – Janine Harrington

The Choreographic Development Awards have been awarded to:

Julie Cunningham who will engage in a non-binary practice alongside musician and artist JD Samson, working on ways that sound and music can be embedded in choreographic development and performance.

Roberta Jean who will work with a team of dancers, artists, creative technologists, and psychiatrists, to explore cross-disciplinary art practice in an attempt to translate certain aspects of the experience of mental health illness and psychedelic therapy.

Grace Nicol‘s research will consider the roles of performers, makers & venues to cause disruption, within the context of design, dance and public spaces. The themes include female desire and post-human agency. Her collaborators include; Alethia Antonia, Iro Costello, Sinéad O’Dwyer, Rosalie Pearce Bell and Florence Pearl.

Charlotte Spencer who will embark on research that wrangles with ideas of touch and consent. What does our memory tell us about our experience of touch? Working with performers Dan Daw and Louise Tanoto, Charlotte plans to explore personal archives of tactile experience.

Chair of the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund, Brendan Keaney says:

“We were very excited to increase the value of the New Choreography Award to £20,000 in 2020 and also to add four Choreographic Development Awards to the portfolio. Most critically, the decision for the New Choreography Award being open to cis-female, trans and non-binary artists has energised our thinking and it is now absolutely apparent that we must increase opportunities for artists from under-represented groups and communities. The fund would like to thank all the artists for the time, energy and care they put into their applications, and to Phoenix Dance Theatre for hosting this year’s awards ceremony. We congratulate all the well deserving winners of this year and commit to supporting a broader range of choreographic practices in future.”