Love, racism, jealousy and desire are at the emotional core of Othello, Shakespeare’s monumental tragedy, a tender love story shattered by one man’s obsessive hatred of another.

Othello, a high ranking soldier, is noble, brave and victorious. Iago, passed over for a position in the army, fuels his diabolical revenge with hatred and snarling racism. Poignant, intense and heartbreaking, Othello mercilessly explores every inch of the human condition.

In this production by Northern Broadsides, which originated at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in February, the title role is played by Lenny Henry. Better known as a comedian, now Henry takes on one of Shakespeare’s most famous and complex roles for his theatrical stage debut. 

Henry’s stage experience to date includes numerous one-man stand-up shows, while his long career has also encompassed radio, film and television, with credits including The Lenny Henry Show, Lenny Henry In Pieces, Lenny’s Britain, Chef!, The Delbert Wilkins Show, Hope And Glory and Comic Strip Presents. He is a co-founder of Comic Relief. 

He is directed by Barrie Rutter, the Artistic Director of Northern Broadsides who has also directed for the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company. 

The cast of Othello also includes Jessica Harris, previously seen in London in Harper Regan at the National Theatre, as Desdemona, and regular Northern Broadsides collaborator Conrad Nelson as Iago.

For more about Othello at the Trafalgar Studio 1, read the Big Interview with Lenny Henry or the First Night Feature.

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