This post is written by:
Othello was a huge leap. We had been talking about making a show about racial tension and a broken Britain but it took me some time to convince Steven that Othello was our way of doing this!
The original suggestion came from another director who just said, out of the blue, that we should do Othello. We initially dismissed this but the idea fascinated me.
I loved working with this text. Cutting it down and moving it around sometimes felt like sacrilege and like we were asking for trouble but we felt that if we held our nerve we could tell this story with passion and clarity.
There was never a disregard or lack of respect for the language. We adored it, but we knew the show we wanted to make and we felt we could do that while also being true to the heart of Othello.
Seeing huge school parties cheer as the house lights drop and the show begins never failed to stun me and fill me with pride. The auditorium felt alive. It felt like an event.
These young people were 100% engaged with Shakespeare's text and living every moment.
Having the opportunity to rework it in 2014 was brilliant. I could engage with this thing I loved and also give myself the opportunity to see how I had grown as a theatre maker. I recommend this rare thing.
In 2017 The National Youth Theatre presented Othello as part of their NYT REP West End season. This was a fantastic experience engaging with a brilliant young NYT ensemble and another opportunity to reinvent our production of Othello.
It was also an excellent training opportunity for the performers as the production demands total commitment to the (edited) text and an intense, authentic physicality.
Frantic Assembly Associate Simon Pittman led on this and created a bruising and visceral show performed at The Ambassador Theatre in London's West End.
Most thrilling was seeing everyone grow through the experience.