Best New Play of the Year 2015

Rufus Norris, Artistic Director of the Royal National Theatre presented the award and cheque for £6,000 to Theresa Ikoko, winner of this year’s Best New Play of the Year at this year’s Alfred Fagon Award supported by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation.

Theresa’s play Girls focuses on the relationship between a group of childhood friends kidnapped in Africa by Boko Haram.

Theresa Ikoko is part of the Talawa Writer’s Programme in partnership with Bush Theatre and Soho Theatre supported by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.  Her writing credits include:

  • Visiting Hours, New Black Voices Showcase, Belgrade Theatre, November 2014
  • Belgrade Unplugged, Belgrade Theatre, July 2014
  • Scratch That Hackney, Hackney Attic, October 2013
  • Normal, (Lunchtime Readings, High Tide Theatre, November 2014; Reading, Talawa Firsts, Talawa Theatre, June 2014)
  • The Race Card, Reading, Tricycle Young Writers, Tricycle Theatre, August 2013

In the first year since winning the award Theresa has won a commission with Soho (Soho Six), won channel 4 playwrights award (an attachment with Hightide) attended the BBC’s TV writers Festival read her blog here  and has two TV options with Bandit & Keshet.

Girls was included in the 20th anniversary British Council Edinburgh Showcase in 2017.

Other Awards presented on the day include the top three winners of the inaugural Audience Award for plays staged between September 2014 and August 2015.  The winning plays are: Liberian Girl by Diana Nneka Atuona (this play won Best New Play of the Year in 2013);  the revival of Play Mas by Mustapha Matura (who won the Alfred Fagon Award for Outstanding Contribution to Writing last year); and Matilda Ibini’s Muscovado

Actor, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, recently on stage at the Barbican as Laertes in Hamlet and also a co-founder of Act for Change announced the winners and presented the award to Matilda Ibini. Unfortunately Mustapha Matura and Diana Nneka Atuona were unable to attend the ceremony so the organisers will present the award to them at a later date.

Also presented at the Awards was the first Roland Rees Bursary, named in honour of the co-founder of the Alfred Fagon Award and leading theatre director from the 1970s and 1980s who died in September.

Photo credit: Richard Hubert Smith

Yvonne Brewster OBE co-founder of the Alfred Fagon Award presented the bursary cheque of £3,000 to writer Mark Norfolk.

Shortlist

Longlist

  • Andrew Rajan Afghanistan
  • Beverley Andrews Circles
  • Chantal Campbell Playing Tom
  • David Judge Skipping Rope
  • Deidan Williams Manhattan Out to Sea
  • Dianna Hunt Mona’s Room
  • Edson Burton Icarus in Love
  • Eva Edo Looked After Children
  • Matilda Ibini Elector8
  • Max Kolaru Not Cricket
  • May Sumbanyambe After Independence
  • Rayna Campbell Manchester Divided
  • Rex Obano The Moors of England
  • Roy Williams The Fear
  • Simon Michael Brett White House
  • Theresa Ikoko Girls
  • Tolula Dada Carrot or Stick
  • Trevor Williams Killing Time
  • Yasmin Joseph Pinch

Audience Award

Liberian Girl by Diana Nneka Atuona (this play won Best New Play of the Year in 2013);  the revival of Play Mas by Mustapha Matura (who won the Alfred Fagon Award for Outstanding Contribution to Writing last year); and Matilda Ibini’s Muscovado.

Later we caught up with Mustapha Matura who was unable to make it on the day.  He receives his award from trustee Sheelagh Killeen-Rees.

The top three plays won with 487 votes (58.84% of the total) with the remaining plays sharing 340 votes (41.18% of the total).

The Alfred Fagon Audience Award recognizes and celebrates the depth of talented Black British playwrights of Caribbean and African descent writing in Britain today.

More Writers – More Recognition

In the inaugural year (2015) the top three plays voted for by the public in an online poll won the award.

Thanks to the Writers Guild of Britain (WGGB), UK Theatre and the National Theatre Black Plays Archive (BPA) who helped us to publicize the Award.

Nominations

  • Amsterdam by Chanje Kunda
  • Boi Boi is Dead by Zodwa Nyoni
  • East End Boys, West End Girls by Ade Solanke
  • Hang by Debbie tucker Green
  • How Nigeria Became: A Story and A Spear the Didn’t Work by Gblahan Obisesan
  • Liberian Girl by Diana Nneka Atuona
  • Muscovado by Matilda Ibini
  • Pandora’s Box by Ade Solanke
  • Play Mas by Mustapha Matura
  • The Honey Man by Tyrone Huggins
  • Upper Cut by Juliet Gilkes Romero

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