Chewing Gum Dreams – Alfred Fagon Award – 2012.

24 Nov

Hello Everyone!

I haven’t blogged here in such a long time I’ve kind of forgotten how to do it so forgive me if this babble lacks whatever usually keeps your attention on this site.

I’m used to only having little bits of good news that would pale in comparison to my sad life unless I big it up by magnifying it times five on every social medium available. Right now I’m thankful to have a lot of good news, although a bit baffed as to what to do with it all.

In August I submitted Chewing Gum Dreams for the Alfred Fagon Award, I am pleased to say I found out 2 weeks ago I won it. I was presented the award by Doreen Lawrence OBE (Stephen Lawrence’s beautiful Mother). She was lovely; humble, with that same quiet strength we have been distant witnesses of for so many years.

Winsome Pinnock, chairwoman of the Alfred Fagon Award Board held the microphone and spoke for a few minutes, she told a story. She recalled a day when she was a little girl in the late 1960s when some of her neighbours had pooed at the entrance of their family home and smeared the shit all over their front door. She recalled the gracefulness of her mother, who quietly cleaned the shit as the neighbours looked on from a distance, without a word to anyone. She was talking about history. It was a very strange moment for me. The reason for this is because in 1995 the exact same thing happened to my family on the same estate we live on now. I remember my sister and I shouting in shock- the shit on the doorstep being one of our estate’s most creative ways of expressing it’s distaste for our particular ‘otherness’. One of the few memories of my childhood is of my little Mother, quietly picking up the Dettol, gracefully cleaning the door without a word or sneer in anyone’s direction, like it was nothing. My sister and I standing in the doorway screw-facing the on lookers as she cleaned. She bagged up the shit, walked through everyone to the big skip, returned home and that was that.

I’m sitting with my mum now telling her that the same thing happened to the playwright Winsome Pinnock 25 years prior. My mum is smiling. It made me realise it doesn’t change, (well it DOES and HAS changed of course in regards to the severity of public racism but that’s not what I’m talking about- it’s the feeling..I can’t pin point it I’m sorry), I reckon my mum is smiling because she realised that a long time ago. My gosh, I feel angry but happy; I feel that to be able to so personally feel this anger is a BLESSING because from it- every now and again- a kind of determination to work is grown, a faith to make the decision to climb a vertical slope with no handlebars that cannot be replicated (I now have Dark Knight Rises in my head “make the climb! make the climb!” haha anyway), and in that determination and climb I truly believe that character is formed. Anyway, I just thought I’d share that, I know at times it may seem like I brag; but it’s not bragging. As Malcolm X-ish and preachy as it sounds- it’s testifying; it’s declaring against a world that juxtaposes the privileged with the underprivileged so intimately that it’s almost invisible, it’s a ‘piss off’ against a world that states  ‘this is not your portion’ and I can only blame my inability to put things correctly if it ever comes across any other way. Bare with me, I ain’t a profeshunal.
Anyway, the Alfred Fagon Award took place at the National Theatre, I then performed Chewing Gum Dreams on the Cottesloe Stage directed by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. We ended up having to use all three levels of the auditorium, and at the end there was a standing ovation.

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My 3 year course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama finished 20 weeks ago. In that space of time I have

written a play that has stood tall in 4 giant theatres,

won the Alfred Fagon Award Best Black Playwright of the Year

received a publishing offer from Oberon Books to print Chewing Gum Dreams

got a part in a certain series of a Channel4 programme 

got a lead in a play in the Royal National Theatre Holland.

sat in a dingy in the middle of the sea in Spain and been bought to shore by a mermaid mate

I’ve cycled an hour and a half one way and realised that there are two kinds of uphill struggle: the cycle up beautiful Notting Hill, and the cycle up a beautiful backdrop of  council estates cemented around bricks of cocaine and chewing gum dreams; Same incline – but different thing mate.

I’m a blogger, so if you find it bizarre and annoying that I blog this stuff, this blog simply isn’t for you, top left or top right there is an ‘x’ just press it, not a biggie 🙂
From spending a few years of my teenage life in a rather traditional pentecostal church I’m glad I haven’t shaken the belief that one should give honour where it’s due so I’d like to put some ‘Thank you’s’ on the world wide web:

To the ALFRED FAGON AWARD BOARD , thank you very much for everything 🙂

The team at THE YARD THEATRE (Second run at Chewing Gum Dreams was here)

The team at BUSH THEATRE (Fourth run of Chewing Gum Dreams was here)

Particularly the two artistic directors of those theatres, MADANI YOUNIS and JAY MILLER (you’re both absolute G’s)


Susannah Laing, Sherie Meyers, Arinze Kene, Rachel Okay,Che Walker. From helping me with set design, to reading my crap drafts, giving me a place to stay, a place to be inspired or just being a friend WITHOUT guilt tripping me for being a burden. Your giving of love without taking of power will not be forgotten.

Bea Walker you have come to one night of every single run this play has ever had. THANK YOU.

Paul Jesson my acting mentor
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Chris Bartholomew (sound designer), Jessica, Melissa.

After the short run of Chewing Gum Dreams at The Yard, it then transferred to Bush Theatre for another short run, which was brilliant, thank you to all who came and all the beautiful staff there man!  Here are some reviews from it:

LONDONIST “…the arrival of a serious new talent “
SPOONFED 5* “unforgettable writer and performer”
FULHAM CHRONICLE “funny and heartbreaking”
The Cultural Exposé “sharp, fresh [and] confident”

Bare Love,

Michaela x


One Response to “Chewing Gum Dreams – Alfred Fagon Award – 2012.”


  1. A bright star rises up from Hackney’s outer limits | LOVING DALSTON - April 13, 2014

    […] young Hackney actor-playwright-singer for much longer. She has just had stunning reviews for her award-winning one-person play, Chewing Gum Dreams, which was picked up by The Shed at the National Theatre after […]

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