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27th May, 2021

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s Keep Creating Gala raises over £26,000 to support students impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama - University of London

On Sunday 16 May The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s Keep Creating Gala, featuring appearances from alumni including Riz Ahmed, Dame Judi Dench, Sonia Friedman, Michael Grandage, Jason Isaacs, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Toby Olié, Sir Tony Robinson, Catherine Tate and more, raised over £26,000 to support Central students impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

More than ever, the world needs stories; Central students are the future storytellers but, in the current climate, many are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.  In response, Central has established the Keep Creating Fund to raise vital funds for bursaries and the Student Centre which supports student health and wellbeing.

As a part of these crucial fundraising efforts, the Keep Creating Gala brought current Central students and recent graduates together with well-known alumni for an evening of celebration showcasing talent from across the Central community.  

Of their time at Central, and in support of the event, alumni involved in the Gala said:  

“I remember my time at Central: it was lifechanging.  It gave me the tools I need as an actor, but also the self-belief I needed to try and pursue a career as an actor.  More than ever, we need stories.  Stories to remind us that there is no us and them, there’s just us. And these students you’re about to see are the storytellers of tomorrow.” –  Alumnus and Honorary Fellow Riz Ahmed

“Central School has been a huge part of my life.  My brother Jeffery was there, and I kind of caught the bug of Central from him; then Finty went there, too.  So it’s played a really important part, and we love it dearly.”  – Alumna and Honorary Fellow Dame Judi Dench DBE

“I can see that this extraordinary institution that is Central is still the lifeblood of our industry.  It continues to be a pioneer in providing the best possible grounding for all theatre makers.” – Alumna, Honorary Fellow and Keep Creating Gala Committee Co-Chair Sonia Friedman OBE

“There really is some amazing work being done by Central graduates all over the world – from Lambeth to Jordan, there are Central graduates doing great and important work helping people explores their lives….though stories.” – Alumnus Jason Isaacs


The programme for the Keep Creating Gala included immersive animation, monologue and puppetry performances, specially commissioned short films celebrating Central students’ work – both on-site and in the community, and current student Matthew Allen’s winning entry to the School’s Joy of Creating competition (as judged by alumnus James Bierman of Empire Street Productions).  

Other highlights included the performance of a specially commissioned extract from alumna Jessica Swale’s production Nell Gwynn directed by alumnus Jonathan Kent and featuring an alumni cast of Tracy Ifeachor, Cecilia Noble, Issie Riley (Class of 2020), Linus Roache and Danny Sapani.  The evening closed with a performance of Paul Thompson’s original song Hold the Light, performed by Becky Coote (Class of 2021) and Will Thompson (Class of 2020) and featuring appearances from a wide range of Central alumni, students and staff.

The Keep Creating Gala has so far raised over £26,000, bringing the total in the Keep Creating Fund to £73,000 – money which will provide vital support to Central’s students as they navigate the coming months and years of their training. 

Donations to the Keep Creating Fund are still being accepted; the Keep Creating Gala will be available to view on Central’s website through 16 June.

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