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New Associateship with
MENA ARTS UK and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Embargoed until 10.00 on Wednesday 27 March 2024

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and MENA Arts UK Announce Associateship The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (Central) and MENA Arts UK are pleased to announce a new associateship which will work to promote and celebrate MENA/SWANA voices and to strengthen links between higher education arts training and the industry.

The associateship will seek areas of collaboration between the two organisations, including celebrating the work of MENA/SWANA artists and practitioners including students and alumni. As part of the newly formed associateship, Central will host MENA Arts UK’s MENA/SWANA Celebration Performance Series at the School on 5 and 6 April 2024.

The two-day celebration of the work of MENA/SWANA Central alumni and students will include an evening of performance and Q&As followed by a day of workshops and installations. Performers for the first evening include Youness Bouzinab, Fatima Serghini, Mai Weisz, Alia Lahlou, Mohab Kaddah, Laïla Alj and Lanna Joffrey with work presented on day two by Adi Gortler, Mohab Kaddah, Farokh Soltani, Amirah Samer, Lanna Joffrey, Lama Amine and Sepy Baghaei.

Central’s Principal and Chief Executive Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE said: “We are delighted to announce our associateship with MENA Arts UK, and to plan for our future work with the MENA/SWANA artists and practitioners – many of whom are Central alumni – that make up this vast network. We are particularly pleased to celebrate this new relationship by hosting the MENA Arts UK Celebration and Performance Series here at Central, and to bring this important work to our student and staff communities. May this be the first of many more exciting collaborations to come!”

Kerry Kyriacos Michael, MENA Arts UK’s Director, said: “We are so much looking forward to working with Josette and her team at the School. Our aim is for MENA/SWANA professionals to shape and thrive in live and recorded arts in the UK, and Central’s invitation to work with their students and alumni is an exciting way to do just that.”

Lanna Joffrey, MENA Arts UK Community Producer and Central Alumni (MA Acting Contemporary 2014) said: “Central has become a home I come back to again and again, supporting me as a multidisciplined artist. It is a welcoming home, committed to lifting up and celebrating its graduates past and present and, therefore, their artistic futures. This celebration is an expression of this commitment to highlight and showcase Central’s incredible MENA/SWANA talent.”

Laïla Alj, MENA Arts UK Steering Group Member, Event Producer and Central Alumni (MA Acting for Screen 2011) said: “Central helped shape the artist I am today, and it’s inspiring to see the great work that our alumni and MENA/SWANA community have achieved. This associateship is an opportunity to make those ties stronger, and I’m excited to see what lies ahead.” The announcement marks MENA Arts UK as Central’s second associate company, alongside New Earth Theatre and with more announcements to follow in the coming months.

Central’s associate companies form part of a series of key, strategic relationships which bring the institution closer to industry partners and deepen and expand the work of the School. ENDS Notes to Editors The MENA Arts UK MENA/SWANA Celebration Performance Series will be hosted at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama on 5 and 6 April 2024.

To find out more about the event including a full list of performers and participants and to reserve a free ticket, please visit For media enquiries please contact: Megan Hunter, Head of Press and Public Relations at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama on: About The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is a higher education conservatoire – a specialist college of the University of London which nurtures creative collaboration. Courses include acting, applied theatre, movement, musical theatre, drama & movement therapy, theatre & live performance, scenography, actor & teacher training, voice, technical arts & production, and writing for stage & broadcast media as well as a doctoral programme. With over 60 academic staff, together with visiting artists and lecturers, Central has the largest grouping of drama/theatre/performance specialists in the UK, an active, award-winning research culture and is a hub of innovation and engagement for the theatre and performance industries. About MENA Arts MENA Arts is a UK-based not-for-profit Arts organisation for professionals who work in the Live & Recorded Arts and are connected to the Middle East, North Africa or the surrounding area.

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