The Alfred Fagon Award is presented each year to a Black British playwright of Caribbean or African descent.

Juliet received the award this week for her provocative and highly acclaimed play The Whip about the abolition of slavery. The play premiered in the Swan Theatre last year but closed unexpectedly in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. 

Juliet Gilkes Romero

"Future generations have the right to debate how Britain's collective colonial amnesia, shapes our current cultural reality."

Juliet Gilkes Romero wearing orange, seated at a table with her hands in front of her
Juliet Gilkes Romero
Photo by Steve Tanner © RSC Browse and license our images

Chair of the award's judges, Mimi Findlay said: “We cannot deny that the process of abolishing slavery was a bloody, gruesome and disgusting one. This play, brave and cutting, layered and complex, reveals the baselessness of human nature at times, and its darkest realms, as well as the gritty dysfunction of the human being in search of a better world." 

Alfred Fagon was a boxing champion, welder, actor, poet, and playwright. who lived in Jamaica and the UK. After his untimely death in 1986 his friends held a memorial at Tricycle Theatre to commemorate his life and work and collected donations which formed the basis of the award. 

Speaking about the award, Juliet said: “My mission is always to unravel what has lain untold and buried for political expediency. The unknown facts about emancipation and the transatlantic slave trade deserve to be re-examined and future generations have the right to debate how Britain's collective colonial amnesia, shapes our current cultural reality.

"I am honoured to be awarded the Alfred Fagon prize for this work and I look forward to continuing its powerful legacy and the quest for Black British artistic freedom.”

We are reuniting the original cast of The Whip to present a new audio dramatisation of Juliet's play which will premiere on YouTube in December.