June 11, 2019 by n
The Adrian Pagan Award, which was set up in 2014 to provide a platform for exceptional new writing, will this year be awarded to Charles Entsie's NSA, a groundbreaking exploration of family,
survival and same-sex relationships, set in London's Peckham.
NSA started life as a 15 minute play, and was selected by The Mono Box – a collaborative, not-for-profit network that caters for actors and theatre-makers seeking alternative, affordable training –
among 4 other pieces (from over 700 applicants) for their Playstart Initiative, which sees high profile mentors (including Tristan Bernays, Hannah Khalil and Arinze Kene) working with young artists. The selected pieces are published in an anthology by Oberon Books. King's Head Theatre Artistic Director Adam Spreadbury-Maher saw Charles' piece at The Mono Box, and then encouraged him to develop it into a full length play. NSA will be Charles' first full length play, and will receive a full production at the King's Head Theatre in Spring 2020.
Charles Entsie says: “I'm so excited to be the winner of the Adrian Pagan Award. It's been an amazing 12 month journey developing NSA from an idea into a fully fledged play with the help of the fantastic people at the King's Head Theatre and The Monobox. I'm incredibly grateful for their support and belief in my work.”
Adrian Pagan was a Stage Manager for 10 years before his first play, The Backroom, won the Verity Bargate Award in 1996, going on to be staged at the Pleasance and Bush Theatres. The Award was established after his tragic death at the age of 39 to recognise unconventional routes into writing for the stage. Every other year, a play is selected to receive a full production at the King's Head Theatre. Previous winners include Dead Party Animals by Thomas Pickles in 2013, Russian Dolls by Kate Lock in 2016 and Sex with Robots and Other Devices by Nessah Muthy in 2018.
King's Head Theatre Artistic Director Adam Spreadbury-Maher says: “Look out British Theatre, there's a magnificent new talent on the scene and he's called Charles Entsie. This astonishing debut piece encapsulates everything that the Adrian Pagan Award was set up to represent; bold new work from brand new voices that champions diversity in its many forms. I can't wait for our audiences to see NSA next Spring.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Charles Entsie is an Actor/Writer. He began writing after continuously being faced with the difficulty of finding pieces that somewhat depicted the atmosphere he grew up in. He particularly enjoys raw and uncensored work - and most recently appeared at The Bunker Theatre of The Wo Lab Actor-Writer Showcase where he performed his piece Bossman.
The playwright Adrian Pagan was educated at Charterhouse, the Sorbonne, Imperial College London, and RADA, where he trained in stage management. Whilst working as a stage manager at the Bush Theatre in the mid 1990s, he shone for his wit, intelligence and understanding of the creative processes that bring a new play to life. During this time he was privately hard at work on a play of his own, leading to a change of career after winning the Verity Bargate award for The Backroom in 1996. The play had further success at the Pleasance Theatre in 1998 and at the Bush Theatre in 1999. Its success resulted in Adrian getting the call to move from theatre into television. He cut his TV writing teeth on Family Affairs and Night and Day before moving on to those small-screen institutions The Bill, Where the Heart Is and Holby City. At the time of his death in 2007, aged 39, he was working on numerous new projects, including a series adaptation of The Backroom, a return to stage drama, and even a pantomime for the alternative cabaret venue at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. The Backroom was described variously by critics as “disgracefully funny” (The Independent), “flash and funny” (The Guardian) and as having “much winning tenderness” (The Telegraph). The play was revived in a sell-out extended season which opened The Cock Tavern Theatre in 2009.
King's Head Theatre
The King’s Head Theatre was established in 1970. Passionate about championing ethically produced fringe theatre, we are known for our challenging work and support of young artists. Last year 88,029 audience members saw a show of ours: 37,586 at our 110-seater home on Upper Street and 50,443 elsewhere. At our home in Islington we had 686 performances last year of 113 different shows. We are committed to fighting prejudice through the work we stage, the artists and staff we work with and by producing work for minority audience groups. We believe in fair pay for all on the fringe and create accessible routes for early career artists to stage their work; work we are passionate about. In 2017, we announced the theatre is on the move. Subject to a fundraising campaign, the King’s Head Theatre will move into a custom-built space in the heart of Islington Square, directly behind its current home securing the future of the venue for generations to come.