Alfred Fagon, playwright, actor and poet: papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

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

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.

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.

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

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Beverly St John, 2000.

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.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

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.

Personal Names