December 8, 2021 by mojisolaadebayohotmailcom
I am so deeply honoured and moved to be the recipient of the 2021, 25th anniversary, Alfred Fagon Award for my play, Family Tree.
(Mojisola Adebayo receiving the 2021 Alfred Fagon award from Baroness Floella Benjamin)
Family Tree was a painful pregnancy. Researching the play was the most distressing work I’ve undertaken as a playwright and those who have seen or read my work know that I never shy away from tough subject matter. Yet the process of studying the different ways in which Black women’s bodies have been extracted from – be it the labour of NHS nurses during the Covid pandemic, to medical experiments on enslaved African women, to the cells of Henrietta Lacks – was at times more than I thought I could cope with. The task of creating something beautiful out of the brutal sometimes felt impossible – but we did it! So being gifted with the Alfred Fagon award is incredibly special. The award means the world to me. It is a hugely respected prize and I am honoured and humbled to follow in the footsteps of writers and friends for whom I have a huge admiration, from Oladipo Agboluaje to Winsome Pinnock and many more. It brings tears to my eyes to think of my name next to theirs. I am delighted. Receiving the Alfred Fagon Award feels almost like I’ve birthed a baby, the pain is gone now and there is light and hope and warmth in my heart and peace in my mind and spirit. Like a child, the play is not mine, I just carried it inside me and out onto the page. Family Tree is enriched by the creative DNA of all the artists who inspired, encouraged and guided me along the way including Professor S. Ama Wray, Dr Nicole Wolf, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Young Vic theatre, Bradley Hemmings and Greenwich and Docklands International Festival and most of all, the amazing Matthew Xia and the incredible actors of Actors Touring Company who helped develop and perform the play during the work-in-progress stages including Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo, Michelle Asante, Alisha Bailey, Natasha Cottriall, Keziah Joseph and Diana Yekinni. Thank you all. Inside the body of this play text, and all around it and all of us, are the cells of the extraordinarily wondrous, Henrietta Lacks. My award is dedicated to her. Thank you. All we need now is a stage on which Family Tree can grow and play. If you want to know more, please contact Actors Touring Company email@example.com