Earlier this month, the graduates of one of the best Acting Schools in the world – the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) received an email letter from the director of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Edward Kemp. Drawn up in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, it set out a revisionist plan to turn RADA from a school for acting into a school for activism:
RADA Woke email by Edward Kemp
Actor David Cann started the debate on conservativewoman.co.uk: “you can read [the plan of action] in full here, but here are some highlights. The format of confession, contrition, and penance is frighteningly reminiscent of China’s 1968 cultural revolution when Chairman Mao’s Red Guards pulled the professional classes from their offices, beat them, forced them to cry on their knees in public and made them apologise for their ‘sins’, then sacked them and made them do menial jobs while kids were made to inform on them. RADA’s director, Edward Kemp, has followed the Little Red Book script down to the last bullet point.”
The public confession
‘We recognise that RADA has been responsible for maintaining structures that are systemically racist. We are aware that RADA has been and currently is institutionally racist.’
The abject apology
‘We are profoundly sorry for the role we have played in the traumatic and oppressive experiences of our current and past Black students, graduates and staff . . . We apologise unreservedly for failings of action, leadership and our systems in making RADA a safe and inclusive environment for Black staff and students.’
Re-education for all
‘RADA needs radical change and must work together as a community to achieve it. We are forming a dedicated Anti-Racism Steering Group (of students, staff and Council) that will work with independent advisers to establish the next steps in both immediate change and a root and branch structural reform to end institutional racism at RADA.’ There is a pledge to ‘decolonise the curriculum and pedagogy’.
‘Students request that their plan takes priority in any work we do next, and we have agreed it will be central to the continued work on the Academy’s anti-racism action plan.’
‘During the last weeks we have heard from students, staff and graduates about their experiences of racism at RADA. We acknowledge and apologise for those experiences and their impact. We are establishing a process for historic feedback and reporting and specialist support in managing this process. We ask anyone who wants to share their experiences with us to do so.’
‘These commitments are the beginning of the process and we will keep you closely informed on progress.’
So woe betide any fools (teachers or students) who are not mindful of their white privilege, however poor or disadvantaged they may be. Needless to say I was appalled and wrote to the director accordingly.
RADA goes Woke Action List
A RADA alumni David Cann commented: “The truth is that RADA has an excellent track record. I have often been back there for readings, script development workshops etc. and to watch the students perform. The atmosphere is still one of creative companionship, hard work and fun. It is quite obviously not a racist organisation. The number of Jews and Indians and West Indians and Africans and Chinese and Turks and Arabs and others who have successfully passed through their portals over the last hundred years or more – to say nothing of the Irish, Welsh and Scots – is testimony to that.”