BERNARDINE EVARISTO has made history yet again, by becoming the first Black female head of a drama school in the UK.
The Booker prize-winning author takes on the ceremonial role at Rose Bruford college, where she started a community theatre course more than 40 years ago.
Speaking to the Guardian, Evaristo said: “I think it’s really good to have Black woman as the head, even if it’s the titular head of a drama school, because it makes a very powerful statement.”
There is a lack of diversity in leadership in higher education roles, and the arts sector is no exception.
Currently Benedict Cumberbatch is president of Lamda and Kenneth Branagh holds the same role at Rada.
Evaristo officially starts in January 2021, and will be in post for five years.
In 2018, Rose Bruford College made the writer fellow at the leading drama school.
When she left in 1982, the trailblazing Evaristo cofounded the first Black woman’s theatre company in Britain, with Paulette Randall and Patricia Hilaire – who were also students at the college.
She is also a lifetime Honorary Fellow of St Anne’s College at the University of Oxford, and a lifetime Vice President at the Royal Society of Literature.
Currently, she also lectures in creative writing at Brunel University.