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After nine years as RADA President, Kenneth Branagh is succeeded by RADA graduates David Harewood in the role of President and Cynthia Erivo in the role of Vice President. Both assume their new role immediately.

The Honorary President and Vice President of RADA embody the values and the excellence of the academy. As well as being symbolic and ambassadorial positions, these roles actively support RADA, the students, the faculty and the wider RADA family through contributions to the academy, advocacy and raising awareness of our work.

Kenneth Branagh said: “It has been a privilege to serve RADA, and it is a thrill to welcome the brilliant David Harewood and Cynthia Erivo to their new roles at the academy. My congratulations and gratitude for the partnership of these exceptional talents helping to shape RADA’s exciting future, and my profound thanks to the academy’s remarkable staff and students from whom I have learned so much.”

Cynthia Erivo said: “I am thrilled to be joining David and the whole team at RADA as the Academy’s Vice President. Having trained at the academy, I am acutely aware of how important a strong support system is, when it comes to education in the arts, it is by no means easy. I have been lucky enough to spend some time with the students at RADA, teaching and the lessons have been enlightening, heartwarming and heartbreaking, all at once. I’m excited to be able to spend more time with them, helping them along their path, to their careers in the outside world. My hope is that I can play a valuable role in strengthening the new talent of tomorrow.”

David Harewood said: “I am extremely delighted to be stepping into the role of President of RADA alongside the wonderful Cynthia Erivo. As a former student at RADA and somebody who has enjoyed both the high’s and experienced the lows of this industry I feel I am ideally placed to help these young people navigate the sometimes difficult path from students to professionals, by bringing all the knowledge and experience I’ve learnt over a 30 year career. I very much look forward to beginning this new journey and playing a small role influencing so many young and talented individuals."

Niamh Dowling, Principal said: “We are delighted to welcome graduates David and Cynthia in their new roles of President and Vice President of RADA. Both clear leaders in their fields, David and Cynthia will contribute hugely to our community as RADA works together to build an Academy for the future, which continues to develop the potential of the most talented people while nurturing curious, articulate and socially conscious theatre practitioners who will be change makers and future leaders.”

Marcus Ryder, Chair of RADA Council, said: "Sir Kenneth Branagh has been an amazing and generous President for RADA during a time of profound changes and challenges, including the academy officially becoming an independent higher education institution and navigating the challenges of Covid-19. His presence not only provided stability and continuity but was an inspiration to the students. I am now incredibly excited to usher in the new President and Vice President, David Harewood and Cynthia Erivo, who I am confident will build on the strong foundations and history of the institution. As alumni they both have an intrinsic understanding of RADA while also bringing in issues and causes that they will look to champion, ensuring RADA continues to produce the best actors and technical theatre practitioners in the world."

Read David's interview about the appointment in The Guardian.

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Photographer credit: Helen Murray