Alfred Fagon Award

The Alfred Fagon Award is a registered charity.

Alfred Fagon lived in Clarendon Jamaica, Nottingham, Bristol and London. He was a boxing champion, a welder, an actor, poet, and playwright. After his untimely death in 1986 his friends held a memorial evening at Tricycle Theatre to commemorate his life and work. The donations collected at the memorial formed the basis of the Alfred Fagon Award to recognise Black British playwrights from the Caribbean. The first award was supported by Arts Council England and The Peggy Ramsay Foundation was presented to Roy Williams . The Peggy Ramsay Foundation continues to support the Award and the prize this year for the winning writer is £6,000.

A bust of Alfred created by David G Mutasa was erected in St Paul’s, Bristol. Bristol keeps his name alive; in September 2013 the Bristol Old Vic Studio dedicated an evening to him where a full rehearsed reading of his play 11 Josephine House was performed. On 26th October 2006 we celebrated the ten year anniversary of the Award at The Royal Court Theatre in London. A reading of Alfred’s play 11 Josephine House preceded the Award ceremony. Lorna French was presented with the prize for her winning play Safe House by Diane Abbott MP.

Roland Rees chaired the Award from 1997 – 2009. In 2006 the founding patrons decided to appoint a new chair on three-year tenure and to extend the reach of the Award by also recognising Black British African playwrights. The Awards are now open to Black British playwrights of Caribbean or African descent resident in the UK.

From 2010-2012 playwright Winsome Pinnock was the chair of the judges. Winsome is featured in the National Theatre Black Plays Archive. She currently teaches creative writing at Kingston University.

Anton Phillips chaired the judges from 2013-2015 and Brian Walters from 2016-2018.  The current chair is Mimi Findlay.

To mark the 18th anniversary of the Award (2014) we celebrated with:


We recognize a writer who has made an impact on the British theatre industry. The first annual award was presented in November 2014 to Mustapha Matura.


More writers, more recognition. An online vote for the top three favourite plays produced during September 2014 and August 2015. The first annual awards was presented in November 2015.  The Audience Award ran for three years (2015-2017).


The Alfred Fagon Series raised funds to support The Alfred Fagon Awards.


An annual photo-shoot with past winning writers, established and emerging playwrights and the great and the good of the Black British theatre industry.


The 21st Anniversary

Oberon Books produced a special edition of Alfred Fagon’s Plays in 2017.

25th Anniversary

The 25th annual Awards were held at Lyttelton Theatre, National Theatre on Friday, 3rd December 2021.

“It’s wonderful to see the growth of these Awards over the past 25 years. Congratulations to all involved in such a fantastic tribute to a pioneering playwright.  May you continue to go from strength to strength.”
Jonathan Meth

“Congratulations on a really wonderful Award ceremony…it was so terrific to see  the stalls of the Lyttleton packed.”
Harriet Cruickshank

“It was a fantastic event I thought – I found it really inspiring and moving being in the room for it. What worthy winners and  shortlisters.”
Audience member

We created two projects to mark the anniversary – celebrating our past winners and 25 Black Champions of Theatre.

The Awards have been held at Royal Court Theatre (1997–2007), National Theatre (2008-2012; 2014-2015), Tricycle Theatre (2013) now known as Kiln Theatre.  The Awards returned to the National Theatre in 2014.

Winning writers have received their Award for Best New Play of the Year from a sterling list of presenters which includes playwrights Mustapha Matura and Roy Williams, broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald OBE, politicians: Lord Smith of Finsbury, Baroness Valerie Amos and politician and broadcaster Diane Abbot MP, writer and broadcaster Bonnie Greer, actors Clive Rowe and Hugh Quarshie, academic and broadcaster Professor Stuart Hall, campaigner for justice Baroness Doreen Lawrence, educationalist Professor Gus JohnThe Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Speaker’s Chaplain, House of Commons and Priest Vicar at Westminster Abbey, Chaplain to the Queen and Rufus Norris, Artistic Director, National Theatre.

For many years the Alfred Fagon Award received administrative support from Britain’s foremost black-led theatre company Talawa Theatre Company.

In 2013 administrative support was provided by Tiata Fahodzi.

Since 2014 Administration and Creative Production has been provided by PDW Productions.

In 2015 we became a company limited by guarantee, registered company no. 9649170.

Trustees: Yvonne Brewster OBE, Sheelagh Killeen Rees, Olusola Oyeleye, James St. Ville, Brian Walters.

Patron: Baroness Floella, Benjamin, DBE

The Alfred Fagon Award promotes, maintains, improves and advances education and the encouragement of the arts in particular by the recognition and promotion of plays by British writers of Caribbean and African descent in the art of drama.