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THM/89 - Alfred Fagon, playwright, actor and poet: papers
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Alfred Fagon, playwright, actor and poet: papers

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This material is held at V&A Department of Theatre & Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89
Dates of Creation 1966-1989
Name of Creator Alfred Fagon
Language of Material English
Physical Description 25 files

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a selection of Alfred Fagon's poems and plays, correspondence about his work, correspondence about his death, his personal identification documents, photographs, press cuttings including reviews and publications.

Arrangement

These papers have been arranged chronologically in the following series:

  • Poems and plays by Alfred Fagon
  • Correspondence
  • Personal identification documents
  • Photographs
  • Press cuttings and publications

Administrative / Biographical History

Alfred Fagon was born 25 June 1937 in Clarendon, Jamaica. He came to Britain in 1955 where he worked for British Rail in Nottingham. He then joined the Royal Signal Corps and he went on to become the army's middleweight champion in 1962. He spent some time traveling and singing Calypso, he also trained and worked as a welder before settling in Bristol to pursue his acting and writing career. His first stage appearance was at the Bristol Arts Centre, in Henry Livings' play, The Little Mrs Foster Show. His role in Mustapha Matura's play Black Pieces brought him to the ICA in London in 1970. He went on to write and produce plays such as 11 Josephine House, Death of a Blackman, Four Hundred Pounds, No Soldiers in St Paul and Lonely Cowboy. He also wrote Shakespeare Country, a BBC2 production of his play of the same name. He also wrote many poems including a series called Waterwell.

The circumstances surrounding Fagon's death were controversial and require some further explanation. On 29 August 1986 he suffered a fatal heart attack while jogging near his home. The police claimed that they could not find any contacts for him and as a result he was given a pauper's funeral. When he did not turn up for a meeting at the BBC they contacted his agent Harriet Cruickshank who eventually discovered what had happened to him. Alfred Fagon's friends and family decided to set up an award in his name, to celebrate and recognise writers of Caribbean and African descent. The Alfred Fagon Award was set up in 1997 and is supported by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation, The Royal Court Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company.

Conditions Governing Access

This archive is available for consultation in the V&A Department of Theatre & Performance's reading room, which is located at Blythe House, 23 Blythe Rd, Olympia, London, W14 0QX. The reading room is open Tuesday to Friday's between 10.15 am and 4.30 pm, access to it is by appointment only. To request an appointment please email tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk or telephone 020 7942 2698.

Additionally access to some of these files may be restricted. These are identified at file level.

Conditions Governing Use

Archive material may not be photocopied. Arrangements can be made to photograph material in the search room using non-flash photography.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Beverly St John, 2000.

Custodial History

This material was received via Alfred Fagon's agent, Harriet Cruickshank.

Accruals

No further accruals to this collection are expected.

Related Material

See also V&A Department of Theatre & Performance Core Collections: material relating to Alfred Fagon may be found in several collections, including Theatre Museum production files, company files and photographs. Related material also found in the Temba Theatre Company Collection (THM/77) and Talawa Theatre Company's files relating to the Alfred Fagon Award (TTC/10/5/12). Please ask for details.

Separated Material

Where no published edition was previously held, a single copy typescript of each play has been removed and transferred to the V&A Department of Theatre & Performance Library. Other remaining typescript and manuscript versions of the plays remain in the archive and detailed cross-references are given in the catalogue below. Programmes and flyers have been removed and transferred to the V&A Department of Theatre & Performance Core Collections.

Subjects

Theater - Great Britain - History - 20th Century
Black theater - Great Britain
Dramatists
Drama - Black authors
Authors and theater--England
Poets, Black

Personal Names

Alfred Fagon

Cataloguing Info

Title Alfred Fagon, playwright, actor and poet: papers
Sub-title Catalogue of records in the V&A Department of Theatre & Performance
Author Catalogued by Dionne Goldson

Poems and plays by Alfred Fagon

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/1
Dates of Creation ca.1970- ca.1985
Physical Description 7 files

Scope and Content

Typed, photocopied and handwritten poems and plays.

Separated Material

A typescript copy of the play No Soldiers in St Pauls has been transferred to the V&A Theatre Collections Library under the reference PLAYS FAG Folio


Poems

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/1/1
Dates of Creation undated: ca.1974-1986
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Poems include 'Sun', 'Writers', 'Come On', 'Two Blackmen', 'Above Our Heads' and various others.


Unidentified scripts and script fragments

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/1/2
Dates of Creation undated: ca.1970-1986
Physical Description 4 folders

Scope and Content

Several manuscript notepads and loose pages of manuscript and typescript. Contain versions or partial versions of Small World and Lonely Cowboy as well as a provisional treatment for Hot Time to Live.


Script for Weekend Lovers

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/1/3
Dates of Creation undated: ca.1970 - 1986
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Manuscript.

Separated Material

A typescript copy has been transferred to the V&A Theatre CollectionsLibrary under the refernce PLAYS FAG Folio


Scripts for 11 Josephine House

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/1/4
Dates of Creation ca.1972
Physical Description 3 folders

Scope and Content

Several typescript versions with some manuscript notes.


Script for The Death of a Black Man

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/1/5
Dates of Creation ca.1975
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Typescript with some manuscript notes.


Scripts for Four Hundred Pounds

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/1/6
Dates of Creation ca.1981
Physical Description 6 folders

Scope and Content

Several typescript versions with some manuscript notes.

Separated Material

One typescript copy has been transferred to the V&A Theatre Collections Library under the refernce PLAYS FAG Folio


Scripts for Lonely Cowboy

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/1/7
Dates of Creation ca.1985
Physical Description 5 folders

Scope and Content

Several typescript versions with some manuscript notes, also a photocopy of the version published by Metheun in Black Plays (1987).


Correspondence

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2
Dates of Creation 1966-1987
Physical Description 12 files

Scope and Content

Correspondence between Alfred Fagon, Harriet Cruickshank and organisations regarding his work, his death and his family.


Correspondence regarding 11 Josephine House

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2/1
Dates of Creation 1986-1987
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Correspondence between Alfred Fagon, Harriet Cruickshank and companies including Tricycle Theatre, Royal Court, Crucible and Black Theatre Co-operative regarding '11 Josephine House'.


Correspondence and letters regarding No Soldiers in St. Paul

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2/2
Dates of Creation 1986-1986
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Correspondence between Harriet Cruickshank and companies including Foco Novo regarding 'No Soldiers in St Pauls'.


Correspondence and letters regarding Death of a Black Man

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2/3
Dates of Creation 1983-1986
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Correspondence between Alfred Fagon, Harriet Cruickshank and companies including Foco Novo, Umoja Theatre Company, Black Theatre Co-operative and Hampstead Theatre regarding 'Death of a Black Man'.


Correspondence and letters regarding Weekend Lovers

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2/4
Dates of Creation 1986-1987
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Correspondence between Alfred Fagon, Harriet Cruickshank and BBC Radio Drama regarding 'Weekend Lovers'.


Correspondence and letters regarding Four Hundred Pounds

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2/5
Dates of Creation 1983-1986
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Correspondence between Alfred Fagon, Harriet Cruickshank and companies including the BBC and Arts Council regarding 'Four Hundred Pounds'.


Correspondence and letters regarding Lonely Cowboy

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2/6
Dates of Creation 1984-1987
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Correspondence between Alfred Fagon, Harriet Cruickshank and companies including Tricycle Theatre, BBC Pebble Mill, and Barbican Theatre regarding 'Lonely Cowboy'.


Correspondence and letters regarding Roads of Emotions

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2/7
Dates of Creation 1983-1985
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Correspondence between Alfred Fagon, Harriet Cruickshank and companies including the Old Vic and Hampstead Theatre regarding 'Roads of Emotions'.


Correspondence and letters regarding Hot Time to Live and musician, Don Drummond

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2/8
Dates of Creation 1983-1985
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Correspondence between Alfred Fagon, Harriet Cruickshank and Nine Lives Partnership regarding musician Don Drummond.


General correspondence regarding Alfred Fagon's poetry and playwriting.

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2/9
Dates of Creation 1980-1987
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

General correspondence between Alfred Fagon, Harriet Cruickshank and companies including Artrage, Temba Theatre Company, BBC, John Whiting award, Arts Council, Royal Court regarding Alfred Fagon's plays and poems.


Correspondence regarding poems by Alfred Fagon

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2/10
Dates of Creation 1983-1987
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Correspondence between Alfred Fagon, Harriet Cruickshank and companies including Soho Poly Theatre, Brixton Festival and Faber and Faber publishers regarding poems by Alfred Fagon, these include 'Above Our Heads'.


Correspondence regarding Alfred Fagon's death

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2/11
Dates of Creation 1986-1987
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Correspondence and letters between Harriet Cruickshank, Alfred Fagon's family, the police and other companies regarding his death, including Harriet Cruickshank's police statement


Correspondence with Alfred Fagon's family and legal papers regarding his estate

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/2/12
Dates of Creation 1966-1987
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Correspondence, letters and legal papers between Harriet Cruickshank and Alfred Fagon's family.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to this file is restricted until 2063.


Alfred Fagon's personal identification documents

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/3
Dates of Creation 1983-1986
Physical Description 1 file

Alfred Fagon's personal identification documents and utility bills

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/3/1
Dates of Creation 1979-1986
Physical Description 1 folder

Photographs

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/89/4
Dates of Creation 1983-1985
Physical Description 2 files

Scope and Content

Five black and white photographs of Alfred Fagon, musicians and Jamaican landscape.