Othello

Play by William Shakespeare. Love, racism, jealousy and desire are at the emotional core of Shakespeare's monumental tragedy, a tender love story shattered by one man's obsessive hatred of another. Passed over for promotion within the Venetian army, Iago's twisted yet ingenious plot sets in motion a chain of events that will destroy the lives of his general, Othello, Othello's faithful wife Desdemona and ultimately himself in this tale of political and sexual jealousy.

Old Vic Theatre 1956 with Richard Burton, Rosemary Harris and John Neville

Old Vic Theatre 1963 with Errol John, Adrienne Corri and Leo McKern

Old Vic Theatre / Queen's Theatre 1964 with Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith and Frank Finlay

Aldwych Theatre 1973 with Brewster Mason, Lisa Harrow and Emrys James

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre 1976 with Robert Stephens, Lorna Heibron and Edward Fox

National Theatre 1980 with Paul Scofield, Felicity Kendal and Michael Bryant

Aldwych Theatre 1980 with Donald Sinden, Suzanne Bertish and Bob Peck

Barbican Theatre 1986 with Ben Kingsley, Niamh Cusack and David Suchet

Young Vic Theatre 1989 with Willard White, Imogen Stubbs and Ian McKellen

National Theatre 1997 with David Harewood, Claire Skinner and Simon Russell Beale

Barbican Theatre 2000 with Ray Fearon, Zoe Waites and Richard McCabe

Trafalgar Studio 2004 with Sello Maake ka-Ncube, Lisa Dillon and Antony Sher

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre 2007 with Eamonn Walker, Zoe Tapper and Tim McInnerny

Donmar Warehouse 2007 with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kelly Reilly and Ewan McGregor

Trafalgar Studio 2009 with Lenny Henry, Jessica Harris and Conrad Nelson

National Theatre 2013 with Adrian Lester, Olivia Vinall and Rory Kinnear

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre 2018 with Andre Holland, Jessica Warbeck and Mark Rylance


Old Vic Theatre 1956 - West End Revival 1956 with Richard Burton, Rosemary Harris and John Neville

Opened 21 and 22 February 1956, Closed 12 May 1956 (in repertory) at the Old Vic Theatre

Presented by the Old Vic Theatre Company.

The roles of 'Othello' and 'Iago' where alternated each performance between Richard Burton and John Neville. There where two opening 'First Nights' - on 21 February 1956 when Richard Burton played the role of 'Othello', and on 22 February 1956 when the role was played by John Neville.

The original cast featured Richard Burton as 'Othello' / 'Iago', Rosemary Harris as 'Desdemona', John Neville as 'Iago' / 'Othello', Anthony White as 'Cassio', Rachel Roberts as 'Bianca', Wendy Hiller as 'Emilia', Jack Gwillim as 'Brabantio', Richard Wordsworth as 'Roderigo', and Derek Francis as 'Duke of Venice'.

Directed by Michael Benthall with designs by Loudon Sainthill.


Old Vic Theatre 1963 - West End Revival 1963 with Errol John, Adrienne Corri and Leo McKern

Opened 30 January 1963, Closed Friday 14 June 1963 (in repertory) at the Old Vic Theatre

Presented by the Old Vic Theatre Company.

The original cast featured Errol John as 'Othello', Adrienne Corri as 'Desdemona', Leo McKern as 'Iago', Eric Thompson as 'Cassio', Judi Bloom as 'Bianca', Catherine Lacey as 'Emilia', James Maxwell as 'Brabantio', Jeffry Wickman as 'Roderigo', and Vernon Dobtcheff as 'Duke of Venice'.

Directed by Casper Wrede with designs by Richard Negri.


Old Vic Theatre 1964 / Queen's Theatre 1966 - West End Revival 1964 with Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith and Frank Finlay

Opened 21 April 1964, Closed 8 September 1966 (in repertory) at the Old Vic Theatre
Transferred 12 September 1966, Closed 4 February 1967 (in repertory) at the Queen's Theatre

Presented by the National Theatre.

The original cast featured Laurence Olivier as 'Othello', Maggie Smith as 'Desdemona', Frank Finlay as 'Iago', Derek Jacobi as 'Cassio', Mary Miller as 'Bianca', Joyce Redman as 'Emilia', Martin Boddey as 'Brabantio', Michael Rothwell as 'Roderigo', and Harry Lomax as 'Duke of Venice', with Edward Petherbridge, George Innes, Edward Caddick, Kenneth Mackintosh, Terence Knapp, Keith Marsh, Tom Kempinski, Peter John, Edward Hardwicke, William Hobbs, Roger Heathcott, Neil Fitzpatrick, along with Raymond Clarke, Reginald Green, Caroline John, Ron Pember, Sheila Reid, John Rogers, Robert Russell and Frank Wylie.

Directed by John Dexter with designs by Jocelyn Herbert, lighting by Leonard Tucker, and music by Richard Hampton.


Aldwych Theatre 1973 - West End Revival 1972 with Brewster Mason, Lisa Harrow and Emrys James

Previewed 14 July 1972, Opened 18 July 1972, Closed 26 February 1973 (in repertory) at the Aldwych Theatre

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The original cast featured Brewster Mason as 'Othello', Lisa Harrow as 'Desdemona', Emrys James as 'Iago', David Calder as 'Cassio', Lynn Dearth as 'Bianca', Heather Canning as 'Emilia', Denis Holmes as 'Brabantio', Roger Rees as 'Roderigo', and Morgan Sheppard as 'Duke of Venice', with Robert Ashby, Forbes Collins, Nickolas Grace, John Hug, Peter Machin, Lloyd McGuire, Anthony Pedley, Matthew Roberton, Michael Shannon, Ted Valentine, Michael Walker, along with Valerie Colgan, Jane Cussons, Philip Doghan, Nickolas Holmes, Kwesi Kay, Marion Lines.

Directed by John Barton with designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman, lighting by Brian Harris, and music by Guy Woolfenden.


Regent's Park Open Air Theatre 1976 - London Revival 1976 with Robert Stephens, Lorna Heibron and Edward Fox

Previewed 9 June 1976, Opened 10 June 1976, Closed 17 July 1976 at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

The cast featured Robert Stephens as 'Othello', Lorna Heibron as 'Desdemona', Edward Fox as 'Iago', Clive Arrindell as 'Cassio', Christine Schofield as 'Bianca', Ursula Mohan as 'Emilia', Edgar Wreford as 'Brabantio', Steven Grives as 'Roderigo', and Paddy Ward as 'Duke of Venice', with John Bowe, Murray Salem, David Cardy, Jonathan Blake, Peter Mantle, along with Sally Greenwood, David McGaw, Christopher Barritt and Tom Kelly.

Directed by Mervyn Willis with designs by Mark Negin, and lighting by Bob Richens.


National Theatre's Olivier Theatre 1980 - London Revival 1980 with Paul Scofield, Felicity Kendal and Michael Bryant

Previewed 14 March 1980, Opened 20 March 1980, Closed 9 April 1981 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre

The cast featured Paul Scofield as 'Othello', Felicity Kendal as 'Desdemona', Michael Bryant as 'Iago', Stephen Moore as 'Cassio', Penelope Wilton as 'Bianca', Yvonne Bryceland as 'Emilia', Basil Henson as 'Brabantio', Michael Gambon as 'Roderigo', and Mark Dignam as 'Duke of Venice', with Glyn Baker, Michael Beint, Elliott Cooper, Michael Fenner, Roger Gartland, Brian Kent, Peter Needham, Adam Norton, Nicholas Selby, William Sleigh, Daniel Thorndike, Gordon Whiting, Glenn Williams, along with Melvyn Bedford, Nigel Bellairs, Edmond Bennett, Sandra Fehr, Peter Harding, Robert Howard, Marianne Morley, Norman Rutherford, Jill Stanford, Steven Slater and Janet Whiteside.

Directed by Peter Hall with designs by John Bury, lighting by David Hersey, music by Dominic Muldowney, and sound by Sue Fortescue.


Aldwych Theatre 1980 - West End Revival 1980 with Donald Sinden, Suzanne Bertish and Bob Peck

Previewed 13 August 1980, Opened 14 August 1980, Closed 25 September 1980 (in repertory) at the Aldwych Theatre

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The cast featured Donald Sinden as 'Othello', Suzanne Bertish as 'Desdemona', Bob Peck as 'Iago', Gareth Thomas as 'Cassio', Shirley King as 'Bianca', Susan Tracy as 'Emilia', Jeffery Dench as 'Brabantio', John McEnery as 'Roderigo', and Willoughby Goddard as 'Duke of Venice', with Graham Callan, Alan Gill, Patrick Gordon, Cathryn Harrison, Terence Harvey, Roderick Horn, Paul Imbusch, Teddy Kempner, Art Malik, Iain Mitchell, Stephen Rashbrook and Mark Tandy.

Directed by Ronald Eyre with designs by Pamela Howard, lighting by Brian Harris, and music by Stephen Oliver.


Barbican Theatre 1986 - London Revival 1986 with Ben Kingsley, Niamh Cusack and David Suchet

Previewed 2 January 1986, Opened 7 January 1986, Closed 22 March 1986 (in repertory) at the Barbican Theatre

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The cast featured Ben Kingsley as 'Othello', Niamh Cusack as 'Desdemona', David Suchet as 'Iago', Tom Mannion as 'Cassio', Penny Ryder as 'Bianca', Janet Dale as 'Emilia' ,Joseph O'Conor as 'Brabantio', and Gerard Logan as 'Roderigo', with Russell Boulter, Richard Conway, Max Gold, Brian Horstead, Roger Llewellyn, John Nolan, Keith Osborn, Paul Webster and Arnold Yarrow.

Directed by Terry Hands with sets by Ralph Koltai, costumes by Alexander Reid, lighting by Terry Hands and Clive Morris, and music by Nigel Hess.


Young Vic Theatre 1989 - London Revival 1989 with Willard White, Imogen Stubbs and Ian McKellen

Previewed 20 September 1989, Opened 29 September 1989, Closed 11 November 1989 at the Young Vic Theatre

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The cast featured Willard White as 'Othello', Imogen Stubbs as 'Desdemona', Ian McKellen as 'Iago', Sean Baker as 'Cassio', Marsha Hunt as 'Bianca', Zoe Wanamaker as 'Emilia', Clive Swift as 'Brabantio', Michael Grandage as 'Roderigo', and John Burgess as 'Duke of Venice', with David Hounslow, Brian Lawson and Philip Sully.

Directed by Trevor Nunn with designs by Bob Crowley, lighting by Chris Parry, music by Guy Woolfenden, and sound by Paul Slocombe.


National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre 1997 / Lyttelton Theatres 1998 - London Revival 1997 with David Harewood, Claire Skinner and Simon Russell Beale

Previewed 1 August 1997, Opened 16 September 1997, Closed 6 January 1998 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre (now Dorfman Theatre)
Returned 1 May 1998, Closed 13 June 1998 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Lytttelton Theatre

A collaboration between the National Theatre and the Salzburg Festival.

The original cast at the both the Cottesloe and Lyttleton Theatres featured David Harewood as 'Othello', Claire Skinner as 'Desdemona', Simon Russell Beale as 'Iago', Colin Tierney as 'Cassio', Indira Varma as 'Bianca', Maureen Beattie as 'Emilia', Trevor Peacock as 'Brabantio', Crispin Letts as 'Roderigo', and Clifford Rose as 'Duke of Venice', with James Hayes, Jamie Leene, Francis Maguire, Ken Oxtoby and Fergus Webster

Directed by Sam Mendes with movement by Jonathan Butterell, designs by Anthony Ward, lighting by Paul Pyant, music by Paddy Cunneen, and sound by Simon Baker.


Barbican Theatre 2000 - London Revival 2000 with Ray Fearon, Zoe Waites and Richard McCabe

Previewed 16 December, Opened 6 January 2000, Closed 8 April 2000 (in repertory) at the Barbican Theatre

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The cast featured Ray Fearon as 'Othello', Zoe Waites as 'Desdemona', Richard McCabe as 'Iago', Henry Ian Cusick as 'Cassio', Catherine Kanter as 'Bianca', Rachel Joyce as 'Emilia', Richard Cordery as 'Brabantio', Aidan McArdle as 'Roderigo', and Geoffrey Whitehead as 'Duke of Venice', with Andrew Bone, Ben Elliot, Graeme Eton, Graham Ingle, Colin Mace, Michele Moran, Peter Reeves, John Sackville and Orlando Wells.

Directed by Michael Attenborough with designs by Robert Jones, lighting by Peter Mumford, music by George Fenton, and sound by Charles Horne.


Trafalgar Studio 2004 - West End Revival 2004 with Sello Maake ka-Ncube, Lisa Dillon and Antony Sher

Previewed 26 May 2004, Opened 3 June 2004, Closed 17 July 2004 at the Trafalgar Studios (now Trafalgar Theatre)

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The cast featured Sello Maake ka-Ncube as 'Othello', Lisa Dillon as 'Desdemona', Antony Sher as 'Iago', Justin Avoth as 'Cassio', Nathalie Armin as 'Bianca', Amanda Harris as 'Emilia', Ken Bones as 'Brabantio', Mark Lockyer as 'Roderigo', and Clifford Rose as 'Duke of Venice', with Vincent Brimble, Edward Clayton, Charles Abomell, Viss Elliot, Barry Aird, Peter Bramhill, Jonathan Duff and Paul O'Mahoney.

Directed by Gregory Doran with movement by Michael Ashcroft, designs by Stephen Brimson Lewis, lighting by Tim Mitchell, music by Adrian Lee, and sound by Martin Slavin.


Shakespeare's Globe Theatre 2007 - London Revival 2007 with Eamonn Walker, Zoe Tapper and Tim McInnerny

Previewed 4 May 2007, Opened 24 May 2007, Closed 19 August 2007 (in repertory) at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

The cast featured Eamonn Walker as 'Othello', Zoe Tapper as 'Desdemona', Tim McInnerny as 'Iago', Nick Barber as 'Cassio', Zawe Ashton as 'Bianca', Lorraine Burroughs as 'Emilia', John Stahl as 'Brabantio', Sam Crane as 'Roderigo', and Jonathan Newth as 'Duke of Venice', with Anthony Bailey, Nigel Hastings, Michael O'Hagan, Michael Taibi, Dickon Tyrrell, Che Walker, Gabby Wong and Fannos Xenofos.

Directed by Wilson Milam with choreography by Sian Williams, designs by Dick Bird, and music by Stephen Warbeck.


Donmar Warehouse 2007 - London Revival 2007 with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kelly Reilly and Ewan McGregor

Previewed 27 November 2007, Opened 4 December 2007, Closed 23 February 2008 at the Donmar Warehouse

The cast featured Chiwetel Ejiofor as 'Othello', Kelly Reilly as 'Desdemona', Ewan McGregor as 'Iago', Tom Hiddleston as 'Cassio', Martina Laird as 'Bianca', Michelle Fairley as 'Emilia', James Laurenson as 'Brabantio', Edward Bennett as 'Roderigo', and Michael Hadley as 'Duke of Venice', with Michael Jenn, David Mara and Alastair Sims.

Directed by Michael Grandage with designs by Christopher Oram, lighting by Paule Contable, music and sound by Adam Cork.


Trafalgar Studio 2009 - West End Revival 2009 with Lenny Henry, Jessica Harris and Conrad Nelson

Previewed 11 September 2009, Opened 18 September 2009, Closed 12 December 2009 at the Trafalgar Studios (now Trafalgar Theatre)

The Northern Broadsides and West Yorkshire Playhouse production of William Shakespeare's play Othello in London, starring Lenny Henry in the title role.

The cast featured Lenny Henry as 'Othello', Jessica Harris as 'Desdemona', Conrad Nelson as 'Iago', Richard Standing as 'Cassio', Rachel Jane Allen as 'Bianca', Maeve Larkin as 'Emilia', Barrie Rutter as 'Brabantio', Matt Connor as 'Roderigo', and Fine Time Fontayne as 'Duke of Venice', with Andy Cryer, Chris Pearse, and Simon Holland Roberts.

Directed by Barrie Rutter with sets by Ruari Murchison, costumes by Stephen Snell, lighting by Guy Hoare, and music and sound by Conrad Nelson.

Northern Broadsides' acclaimed production is propelled by the dramatic voltage of a company of actors renowned for their grit, vigour and believability.

"[Lenny Henry's] Othello is a dignified chieftain: his huge body and the way he carries it are a natural expression of his character, a soldier, straightforward and frank, a stranger to duplicity and at peace with himself. At the age of 50, this is Henry's debut as a stage actor, but he looks and sounds as if he had been one all his life... What is not there yet is the rhythm and colour of poetry; but he gives Othello a sense of grave innocence... Barrie Rutter's clean, unfussy production serves the play admirably." The Sunday Times

"Henry's shaven-headed Othello is an imposing figure, high and mighty, beside whom all the other characters look puny and insignificant... While there's not much music in his versespeaking, there's considerable feeling... It's not a revelatory performance in any sense, but an extraordinary, impressive and truly heroic achievement, which plainly articulates the tragedy of a man 'who loved not wisely but too well'... He is by far the best thing in Rutter's otherwise merely serviceable production, which could do with more atmosphere, tension and a deeper exploration of character and motive." The Mail on Sunday

"Lenny Henry's Moor is a tame and slightly cartoonish old bear. His warm regional accent adds to the general sense of cosy but sexless amiability... At one point, Othello addresses Desdemona as 'sweetie'. He might as well have gone the whole hog and said, 'Put the kettle on, love.' It makes me wonder if Shakespeare can't sometimes be made too accessible. Some of the great speeches of the play seemed suddenly prosaic rather than poetic. Still, Henry makes the best of what he has and proves, beyond all doubt, that he is a proper, fully paid-up actor." The Sunday Telegraph

"As Othello, Lenny Henry is - in every sense - a towering presence. I loved his booming delivery, his passion and his capacity for stillness... What is best about the evening is the overwhelming sense of the love between Othello and Desdemona and Henry's comic gift underpins his tenderness. He picks Desdemona up playfully like a little doll, tickles her, swings her through the air - his beloved toy. And for most of the evening, he sweeps the audience off its feet too." The Observer

Othello in London at the Trafalgar Studios previews from 11 September 2009, opens on 18 September 2009 and closes on 12 December 2009. (Transfer from West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds where it previewed from 14 February 2009, opened on 18 February 2009 and closed on 14 March 2009 after which it went on a short UK tour visiting The Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough from 17 to 21 March 2009; The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry from 7 to 11 April 2009; The Theatre Royal Bath from 14 to 18 April 2009; The Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames from 21 to 25 April 2009; The New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme from 28 April to 2 May 2009; and The Viaduct Theatre in Halifax from 5 to 10 May 2009.)


National Theatre's Olivier Theatre 2013 - London Revival 2013 with Adrian Lester, Olivia Vinall and Rory Kinnear

Previewed 16 April 2013, Opened 23 April 2013, Closed 5 October 2013 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre

The cast featured Adrian Lester as 'Othello', Olivia Vinall as 'Desdemona', Rory Kinnear as 'Iago', Jonathan Bailey as 'Cassio', Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi as 'Bianca', Lyndsey Marshal as 'Emilia', William Chubb as 'Brabantio', Tom Robertson as 'Roderigo', and Robert Demeger as 'Duke of Venice', with Sandy Batchelor, Adam Berry, David Carr, Gabriel Fleary, Scott Karim, David Kirkbride, Tom Radford, Nick Sampson, Chook Sibtain, Rebecca Tanwen, Jonathan Taylor and Joseph Wilkins.

Directed by Nicholas Hytner with designs by Vicki Mortimer, lighting by Jon Clark and Mark Henderson, music by Nick Powell, and sound by Gareth Fry.


Shakespeare's Globe Theatre 2018 - London Revival 2018 with Andre Holland, Jessica Warbeck and Mark Rylance

Previewed 20 July, 2018, Opened 1 August 2018, Closed 13 October 2018 (in repertory) at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

The cast featured Andre Holland as 'Othello', Jessica Warbeck as 'Desdemona', Mark Rylance as 'Iago', Aaron Pierre as 'Cassio', Catherine Bailey as 'Bianca' / 'Duke of Venice', Sheila Atim as 'Emilia', William Chubb as 'Brabantio', and Steffan Donnelly as 'Roderigo', with Badria Timimi, Micah Loubon, Ira Mandela Siobhan and Clemmie Sveaas.

Director Claire van Kampen with choreography by Antonia Francesch, designs by Jonathan Fensom, music by Claire van Kampen.