Familiar to many for his television roles, former UAL Chancellor Kwame Kwei-Armah has a long roll call of achievements across directing, acting, playwriting and singing.
Born in Hillingdon and growing up in Southall, Kwame Kwei-Armah attended the Barbara Speake Stage School in Acton, then spent most of his twenties as a budding actor and musician. His most famous acting role was in the long-running BBC drama Casualty, in which he played paramedic Finlay Newton from 1999 to 2004.
During this period he wrote his most famous play, Elmina’s Kitchen, which transferred from the National Theatre to the West End: only the second play by a black playwright to do so. Shortlisted in the Best New Play category at the 2004 Laurence Olivier Awards, Kwame also received the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright and was nominated for a BAFTA award for the television version.
He also did an MA in Screenwriting at the London College of Printing (now London College of Communication) and would subsequently go on to become first a Governor and then the Chancellor of UAL.
Since 2011 he has served as Artistic Director of the Center Stage Theatre in Baltimore. Awarded an OBE in 2012 for Services to Drama, he continues to work in the UK as a director, with recent success including the Donmar Warehouse’s Olivier-nominated One Night in Miami, and Birmingham Rep’s hit Bob Marley musical One Love, which is due to transfer to the West End soon.