LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) is delighted to announce that Benedict Cumberbatch CBE has been appointed as the Academy’s new President. He will take up the position immediately, succeeding Timothy West CBE who steps down after 31 years in the role.
In 2013 Benedict launched LAMDA’s fundraising campaign for its new building which opened in spring 2017. LAMDA’s new home on Talgarth Road, with its ten rehearsal/training studios, three public performance spaces (The Sainsbury Theatre, The Carne Studio Theatre and the LAMDA Linbury Studio) and screen and audio suite, unites all of LAMDA’s world-leading training facilities and its renowned LAMDA Examinations on one campus in Barons Court, west London.
Benedict graduated from LAMDA in 2000 with an MA in Classical Acting and has since gone on to an award-winning career as an actor on stage and screen. His credits span theatre, TV and film – including his award-winning and internationally recognised role as the iconic detective in television series Sherlock, and several Hollywood blockbusters including The Imitation Game, Star Trek Into Darkness, August. Osage County, Twelve Years A Slave, The Fifth Estate and the titular role in Marvel’s Dr Strange series. Forthcoming projects include a new TV series Patrick Melrose based on the bestselling series of books by Edward St. Aubyn, which will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic later this year.
LAMDA Principal, Joanna Read said as she announced his appointment ‘I am truly delighted that Benedict has agreed to join the LAMDA family as President. As a fantastic actor who understands his craft and our industry, I know his insights will be terrifically beneficial to students and staff. I am excited to have his support in opening up access to our world-leading conservatoire training and for LAMDA’s unique approach in nurturing, training and inspiring the talent of the future.’
Benedict Cumberbatch said of his appointment ‘Having trained at LAMDA, I am thrilled to have been appointed as its new President and would like to thank my predecessor, the great Timothy West for his remarkable and steadfast tenure. It will be an honour to watch the next generation of actors, directors and technicians blossom and grow into outstanding creative artists and theatre professionals through the exceptional training provided by LAMDA. I am also looking forward to working alongside Joanna and the staff, and Shaun and the Board of Trustees to continue to ensure this training remains accessible to everyone and that my profession and industry is diverse and reflective of the world we live in.’
Timothy West, outgoing President of LAMDA said ‘I joined LAMDA as a Trustee in 1980 and have watched its monumental growth over those 37 important years; and I now feel that, while links with the past are in some ways beneficial, links with the future are what really counts. LAMDA’s President now should, I feel, be a visible and potent power in our profession, and when I heard that Benedict Cumberbatch had accepted our invitation to take over the Presidency, I was overjoyed. I wish for him the same pleasure, pride, fellowship and enjoyment that has always been mine as LAMDA’s President.’
Speaking about the new appointment, the Chairman of LAMDA, Shaun Woodward said ‘We are all thrilled that Benedict will become the new President of LAMDA. It’s hugely exciting and we are all looking forward to working with Benedict in the months ahead on many projects with our students. Tim West has been an amazing President for LAMDA and has created a great legacy. We understand why Tim feels now is the right time to pass the baton, but he will be keenly missed by everyone.’