Harlem, British drama schools collaborate

Forging arts: From left, artistic director of Harlem School of the Arts, Alfred Preisser, London Academy of Arts and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) chairman, Rt. Hon. Shaun Woodward, LAMDA principal, Joanna Read, chair of The Harlem School of Arts (HSA), Charles Hamilton, and HSA president, Eric Pryor.
Byron McCray

Welcome to Harlem, London.

The prestigious British acting school, The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) announced they will be partnering with two leading Harlem arts organizations this summer — The Harlem School of the Arts and The City College Center for the Arts. The collaboration will bring a two-week summer program to Harlem, giving the city’s drama students exposure to the best of the best, said Charles Hamilton, chairman of The Harlem School of Arts.

“The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art is one of the most recognizable colleges in the English-speaking world and they have the top students and instructors,” said Hamilton.

The summer intensive program will give a select few students the opportunity to train with these expert actors and teachers, and forge a strong connection between the two organizations for the future.

“All of the students that we’re getting together for this initial program will grow in it overtime not only going to London, but some of our students could be going to the United Kingdom, creating a pipeline from the Harlem School of Arts to the London Academy,” he added.

The collaboration came underway just two years after the two centers started discussing ways to develop a program in Harlem. When the agreement moved forward, City College Center for the Arts joined as well.

Hamilton said the partnership aimed to keep the program continuous every summer and he was excited that the school has grown from where it was a several years ago.

“Eight years when the school was in a real difficult state, Mayor Bloomberg, reached out to people like myself to take it over, and he said not only to continue the school but to make it a global institution because this school deserves world stage,’ said Hamilton. “Now eight years later, here we are — on the world stage.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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