ALRA principal steps down following racism allegations against drama school

Harriet Clifford
Monday, January 11, 2021

Adrian Hall has left his position as principal of ALRA (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) following widespread allegations of racism against the school.

Adrian Hall

The news follows a six-month internal investigation after 13 graduates wrote an open letter describing incidents of experienced racism at the school. 

Calling for a leadership overhaul, the students wrote that ‘these incidents are part of systematic racism within the school that Adrian Hall headed up, that ALRA have accepted.'

The former students, who attended ALRA in London and Wigan between 2011 and 2018, have been openly campaigning for seven months and believe that the school ‘is now a safer space for all of its students, and of course the black and Asian students’. The story has been followed closely by The Stage since the letter was published on Twitter.  

In a statement on behalf of the board of trustees, chairman Harry Cowd said: ‘I can confirm that Adrian Hall left ALRA on December 31, 2020. I hope you will appreciate that, consistent with normal practice, it would not be appropriate for ALRA to comment on the reasons for the departure of individual members of staff.’

He added: ‘We are committed to ensuring that ALRA is an inclusive institution where unlawful discrimination has no place. Over the past six months we have engaged in a process of investigating matters, reflecting on our culture and procedures, and implementing a number of changes.’

Lamin Touray, one of the graduates behind the open letter, told The Stage: ‘We know this action won’t just end institutionalised racism but for us it’s a huge step towards slowly dismantling oppressive systems.

‘This has been five years in the making and seven months of hard work and speaking out from putting our first tweets out back in June 2020 and reflecting on our own experiences of racism, to writing the open letter and eventually opening up a dialogue with the school.

‘If this has taught me anything it’s never to give up fighting for what you believe in. When you have the truth on your side all you need is determination, team work and a strategy and you really can implement change.’