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ALRA’s Working Group Chairs

At ALRA, we have set up four advisory working groups to help guide us through our process of making the schools a better place. They are the Global Majority Working Group, the LGBTQ+ Working Group, the Graduate Advisory Board and the Disability Working Group, and we’d love to introduce you to their Chairs.

Unique Spencer (she/her)

Global Majority Working Group

Unique trained at Arts Ed and works professionally as an actress. She works closely with companies such as Generation Arts and Clean Break.

“As a Black female actress who trained at drama school I understand that the journey that you go on as a person of the Global Majority may be different. I want to be able to create a safe space for students to talk and discuss ideas that don’t get talked about in class. As the chair of the Global Majority Working Group I get to give back to the students and create that space for them. I work professionally in the industry and have an understanding of what needs to be changed in ways that are effective.

The Global Majority Working Group was created by our students of the Global Majority to champion their individual and collective voice within ALRA. We have been assisting ALRA with an Action plan Against racism and charter of values with a view to helping to create a more inclusive environment for current and future students. We aim to provide a safe space for students to come and talk about some of the complex problems that may arise regarding race and/or religion/culture/heritage.”

Daneka Etchells (she/they)

LGBTQ+ Working Group

Daneka is an actor, writer and an ALRA 2018 graduate. She has worked extensively across film and theatre with National Theatre, Northern Stage, Theatre by the Lake, CAST Doncaster, Northern Broadsides, The Customs House, Liverpool Everyman, BBC and StudioCanal. As a writer, she’s written for Paines Plough, Theatre by the Lake, Emmerson and Ward and has had poetry published nationally and internationally. She is very passionate about her queer, working class identity, championing it in all of her work, and wants to inspire other students to find the strength of their individuality within their art.

“The LGBTQ+ Working Group is an independently chaired group to give space and voice to ALRA’s current LGBTQIA+ students. The cross-campus student group meet 2-3 times a term in a safe, confidential environment. The chair feeds back on the progress and actions on the proposals from the previous meetings, followed by an open discussion to raise/highlight anything else, finding kindredship and inter-community support. As the chair of the group, I work as a liaising point with ALRA, consulting on change to queer policy and framework such as discussing events, texts and other work celebrating queerness, embedding thinking on sexuality and gender within ALRA’s pedagogical future, facilitating capacity for achievable and equitable excellence for LGBTQIA+ students, and holding ALRA accountable to equity, appropriate behaviour and inclusion.” 

Alex Chang (he/him)

Graduate Advisory Board

Alex graduated from ALRA South in 2015. He is an experienced actor, producer and co-founder of Paradox House; a new home built by filmmakers, for filmmakers, where previous films have played at A-list film festivals around the world, working with both Oscar nominees and rising talent alike. Alex has worked in stage, television, film and commercial roles and with brands including Braun, Wrigleys, Mars, BBC and Sky. Alex executive produced ‘Anna’ by Dekel Berenson that premiered at Festival de Cannes in 2019, was nominated for a Palme d’Or, has been selected at over 300 festivals worldwide, and and won a British Independent Film Award. He also produced an upcoming documentary on World Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion, Michael Smolik, and his next film ‘The Blue Mauritius’ is slated for 2021. Alex is also producing a number of feature films and tv series’ that address themes including social justice, xenophobia and representation of the Global Majority as a whole.

“To add further value to the student experience, as well as organisational accountability, ALRA is liaising with our Graduate Advisory Board. The Board is part of a dedicated support network for students to access during their training at ALRA. Throughout the academic year members will provide professional enrichment, groups talks and one-to-one guidance.”

Adam Fenton (he/him)

Disability Working Group

Adam is a disabled/neurodiverse writer, performer, and former BA Acting student at ALRA North. Since graduating he has been creating work that challenges conceptions around difference and explores the power of uniqueness. He has been involved with Graeae Theatre Company, Oldham Coliseum, Box of Tricks Theatre, Take Back Theatre, DANC, The Royal Court, and the BBC, taking part in various projects and development programmes. Adam is passionate about championing accessibility in actor training both at ALRA and the industry as a whole.

“The Disability Working Group is a support structure for students and graduates who identify as disabled, neurodiverse, having a mental health condition or any access needs. It is set up as a safe space where actors with differences can have their voices heard and have open and frank discussions pertaining to their experience of navigating actor training and the arts industry. It also stands as a channel for current students to talk about barriers they are facing during training, these ideas and issues being brought to ALRA, and work to be done on creating solutions that benefit everyone. The DWG aims to work with ALRA to create a model of actor training that is fully accessible. This includes accessible facilities, disabled representation and visibility in staff, changes to policy, and the restructuring of ALRA using the social model of disability.”

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