Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo praised her former college for making an “important statement” by establishing her as the UK’s first black female president of an important drama school.
He will take a formal role at Rose Brufford College four decades ago, which the author attended four decades ago and hopes to become an inspiration for young students of color who want to enter the cultural field as he did in his decade.
“I think it’s really good to have a black woman as the head, even though it’s the headline of any drama school, because it gives a very strong statement,” she said. “It’s really important that Rose Brufford should be where I became president, because 40 years ago I was there as a student and in many ways the college made me.”
Everest has been portrayed by a number of people of color as the figurehead of a large UK higher education institution and he is now named president of a major UK drama college, including Dame Judy Dench (Mountview), Benedict Cumberbatch (Lamda) and Kenneth Branagh (RADA).
Everesto 19 completed a community theater course at the college from 1979 to 1982 and said the experience shaped him. Towards the end of her time at school, she co-found a theater for Black Women, an organization that had “created such a role in our case” because
The author argues that historically there is a general lack of racial awareness in a sector where actors from minority backgrounds have not been taken into courses in drama schools or are only cast for certain types of roles and fight for discrimination.
These issues came to light this summer when former and current drama school students accused several institutions of hypocrisy over anti-apartheid rhetoric in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protest.
Everesto said Rose Brufford was not formulating her vision for inclusion, adding that about 13% of its students came from black or minority ethnic backgrounds.
He said he hoped his appointment would make drama schools more accessible to BAMA students. “If they see a black person in a position of power in an organization, which makes it more attractive to students of color, and not just someone in a position of power, he’s an outspoken activist like me.”
The appointment is the latest honor for Everest, who made history when she became the first black woman to receive the Booker Prize when she shared the prize with Margaret Atwood in 2012.
He was recently appointed vice-president of the Royal Society of Literature in Britain and presided over its fellowship program aimed at diversifying the organization’s membership. He was also an Honorary Fellow of St. Anne’s College, Oxford.
Article This article or section needs sources or references that appear in credible, third-party publications. An earlier version had misrepresented Everest as relating to Roman Brufford College, stating that “about 30% of its students come from a black or minority ethnic background”. In reality the figure is about 13%. Everesto was also recently appointed vice-president of the Royal Society of Literature.