EXCLUSIVE: Killing Eve producer Sid Gentle Films is developing TV adaptation of Rejoicing At Her Wondrous Vulva the Young Woman Applauded Herself – a play written by newcomer Bella Heesom about female sexuality.
Sid Gentle will be hoping that it becomes the latest hit stage play to television, following the breakout success of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, which started on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe.
The play has been described as being a “celebratory exploration of female sexuality”, taking audiences on a journey of self-discovery through pleasure, shame, pride, fury and jubilation. It aims to break free of the deeply internalized male gaze and features intimate stories, comic dialogues between Brain and Clitoris, and when words start to feel like a cage, dance.
It is Heesom’s latest play, following her debut, My Heart Has Exploded A Little Bit. She also hosts her own podcast, Rejoicing with Bella, and as well as performing on stage in plays, she starred in 24: Live Another Day.
Sally Woodward Gentle, Lee Morris and Gina Mingacci will serve as executive producers on the project while Heesom will adapt her play for screen. The deal was negotiated by Charles Dawson at Sid Gentle Films and Jessica Stewart at Independent.
In addition to producing the second season of BBC America’s spy thriller Killing Eve, Sid Gentle produced period drama SS-GB and ITV family drama The Durrells. Run by Sally Woodward Gentle, who was previously creative director at Downton Abbey producer Carnival, BBC Studios bought a majority stake in the indie in February.
Heesom said, “I’m absolutely overjoyed to be working with Sid Gentle to bring my play to the screen. As soon as I met Sally and Henrietta, I knew I’d found the perfect home for this show. I’m passionate about exploring sexuality and identity through the female gaze, and to my delight, these wise, witty women are equally passionate about the subject matter, and are also embracing my experimental writing style. I already knew the team had an incredible body of work behind them, and now that I’m in the midst of binge-watching the brilliant Killing Eve, I’m even more excited about what we’ll make together.”
Woodward Gentle said, “We are delighted to be working with Bella on Wondrous Vulva. Her refreshing and radical honestly is compelling, and it fits with Sid’s vision to continue making creative, innovative and ambitious drama, which pushes boundaries and sparks discussion. In Bella we have found someone who shares our passion for engaging storytelling, and we are very excited to work with her to bring her wonderfully engaging play to the screen.”
Mingacci added, “Bella is a wildly exciting new voice who has written a story that will resonate truthfully not just with women, but with anyone who has struggled to understand who they are. I’m thrilled to be a part of the fantastic team bringing this to life.”