RADA: David Harewood Appointed As First Black President

RADA - Marcus Ryder, Cynthia Erivo, David Harewood - photo by Helen Murray
Marcus Ryder, David Harewood, Cynthia Erivo; Portrait ; Royal Academy of Dramatic Art ; London, UK ; 5 September January 2024 ; Credit and copyright: Helen Murray www.helenmurrayphotos.com

The Homeland star is also accompanied by Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo as vice president in this history-defining decision.

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) welcomes former students Harewood and Erivo as Kenneth Branagh steps down as president after nine years. Branagh, who received critical acclaim for his film adaptations of Shakespearean plays, states “it has been a privilege to serve RADA”, expressing his deep “congratulations and gratitude” towards the newly appointed roles. 

RADA provides world-leading vocational training in the Arts, established as the UK’s oldest drama school. Harewood and Erivo are amongst an impressive alumni of diverse talent, including: Lolita Chakrabarti, Glenda Jackson and Tom Hiddleston. 

Birmingham-born Harewood, also known for his roles in Blood Diamond and The Merchant of Venice, said he is “extremely delighted to be stepping into the role”. He added: “I very much look forward to beginning this new journey and playing a small role influencing so many young and talented individuals”. 

Erivo, a Tony Award winner for her part in The Colour Purple on Broadway, stated she is “thrilled to be joining David”. The actress and singer is hopeful to “play a valuable role in strengthening the new talent of tomorrow”, describing her experience with the students so far as “enlightening” and “heartwarming”.

The Academy Award for Best Actress nominee is set to star as Elphaba in the film adaptation of Wicked alongside Ariana Grande later this year.

The prodigious efforts of RADA to cultivate talent and promote diversity since its opening in 1904 will remain steadfast as Harewood and Erivo are set to assume their roles immediately.

Words by Anna Farrer

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