Date of release: Friday, November 27, 2015
British Nigerian screenwriter and playwright Ade Solanke has the distinction of being nominated twice for the Alfred Fagon Audience Award, to be announced this Friday (27 November).
Ade, who teaches Creative Writing at the University of Greenwich, is the only nominee to have two theatre productions up for the prize, launched last year to "recognise and celebrate the depth of talented Black British playwrights".
East End Boys, West End Girls is about four London teenagers who cross the education divide to compete for a prestigious scholarship. In Pandora's Box, a British-Nigerian mother has to decide whether to leave her only child in a strict Lagos boarding school or return him to the battlefields of inner London.
Ade says: "I am telling the dynamic stories about the African diaspora and stories of the times we live in. As Ban Ki-moon (UN Secretary-General) says, 'migration is among the defining issues of our times', and I'm excited by the treasure trove of untold stories triggered by our parents' journey to the UK."
Pandora's Box, shortlisted for the 2014 Nigeria Prize for Literature and nominated for Best New Play in the Off West End Awards, went on a national tour last year: "Audiences in Newcastle and Sheffield were connecting. Young black people face specific problems like not seeing themselves on TV and other popular media, but many of the issues around parenting and youth safety addressed in the play are universal."
East End Boys, West End Girls won 'Best Theatre Production' at the BEFFTA (Black Entertainment, Film, Fashion, Television & Arts) Awards last month.
Dr Zoë Pettit, Head of the Department of Literature, Language & Theatre, says: "We are very pleased that Ade has recently joined the Creative Writing team. Ade is a successful playwright and she also worked in Hollywood as a story analyst. She is now part of a new wave of British African writers and this offers exciting new opportunities for our students."
Alfred Fagon was a boxing champion, actor and playwright whose friends established a 'Best New Play Award' to recognise Black British playwrights after his untimely death nearly 30 years ago. Last year two further awards were added including the audience award which allows the public to vote online for their favourite play.
For information about degrees in creative writing and other courses in the Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities: www.gre.ac.uk/ach.
Story by Public Relations
Picture: Ade Solanke