Go Back Home! by Hannah Shury-Smith wins the 26th Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play of the Year.
Hannah says, “I found out about the Alfred Fagon Award two years ago when I wrote an article for The British Blacklist encouraging writers to submit their plays. Since then, I have greatly admired the work done by the Alfred Fagon and Mustapha Matura Awards. The longlists and shortlists for the Alfred Fagon Award catalogue the Black British writers that have shaped and continue to shape the British theatre, TV and film landscapes.
My writing has been inspired by these writers – Dipo Baruwa Etti, babirye bukilwa, Inua Ellams, Nicôle Lecky, Ryan Calais Cameron, Patricia Cumper, Tyrrell Williams, Theresa Ikoko, Yasmin Joseph, Michaela Coel and Jasmine Lee-Jones – so to have won this award and see my name beside theirs still blows my mind. Thank you so much to the judges for taking my play on this journey. I look forward to seeing what the future will bring.”
Mimi Findlay, Chair of the Judges for the Alfred Fagon Award and Mustapha Matura Award and Mentoring Programme says, “Hannah’s experimental depiction of a play with dementia, exploration of home, and belonging at the centre of the themes of the play is in it’s purest form a deeply intimate play, that quietly knows it needn’t be epic – because it is universal. The judges loved that Hannah challenged herself to let this play remain in a chaotic and jumbled state at times – so that we might authentically understand with compassion, the disruption and destruction that dementia causes.”
The Alfred Fagon Award is supported by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation.
Dreaming and Drowning by Kwame Owusu wins the second Mustapha Matura Award and Mentoring Programme. Kwame says, “I am absolutely thrilled to be awarded the Mustapha Matura Award and Mentoring Programme. It is such an honour to be given this rare and generous opportunity to receive mentorship from a world-class playwright, alongside the championing of my writing that this award bestows. I’m incredibly excited to sharpen my writing technique over this mentorship period and to expand my approach to storytelling and form with increasing boldness, ambition, and precision. This is a life-changing moment for me, and I feel genuinely delighted and galvanised for the future.”
Ingrid Selberg, wife of Mustapha Matura says, “I found Kwame Owusu’s ‘Dreaming and Drowning’ a powerful and authentic portrayal of a coming of age of a young black person, which explored anxiety, anger, confusion and joy conveyed in vivid and poetic language. I feel Kwame Owusu is a writer with great promise and deserves to win the Mustapha Matura Award and Mentoring Programme.”
The Mustapha Matura Award and Mentoring Programme are supported by the Estate of Mustapha Matura, Garrick Charitable Trust and Henry Kent Trust and many individual donors.
Max Kolaru is awarded the Roland Rees Bursary. Max says, “Being the Roland Rees Bursary Recipient has given an empowering lifeline to my playwriting. It’s given me the stamina and fortitude to continue writing in the face of rejection, over a long period; rejection which threatened to damage my creative spirit and passion. And put an end to my love of playwriting, once and for all.
The Roland Rees Bursary has reinvigorated and empowered my zeal for playwriting. It is both inspirational and a catalyst that will fuel me to continue to write great plays, that nobody wants to stage! The Bursary also gives me the strength to know that the 17 full-length plays and 13 short plays that I have written thus far, have not been written in vain, and will, in the fullness of time, find a home. Thank you Roland Rees and the Alfred Fagon Award, for giving me a place in the world of playwriting and theatre, when all of the doors to both, seem to be locked tight against my entry; for that, I will be eternally grateful.”