Shakespeare in the North with Theresa Saxon

Where: Media Factory – Room TBC
When: Thursday 15th November – 11am

This session, on theatre and performance, takes an historic journey through the development of theatre in England, particularly how London became known as a centre for theatrical activity, and will then move on to explore the very important work done in regional theatre.

The sessions will focus on William Shakespeare’s tragedy of Othello, a play about race and racial tensions, which has always been notorious but became particularly so in the early nineteenth century.

In 1825, Ira Aldridge a young black actor recently arrived from America, took on the role in England, the first black actor known to have played Shakespeare’s tragic “Moor” before a paying audience. Aldridge also played to provincial audiences and is known to have performed in Lancaster, Manchester and Preston throughout the course of his career.

This talk will examine the very different responses that Aldridge, in the role of Othello, encountered in the theatres of the capital to those he experienced in the North and will also consider the range of actors who have taken the role and the implication of race to their interpretations.

Northcote, James, 1746-1831; Othello, the Moor of Venice
Northcote, James; Othello, the Moor of Venice; Manchester Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/othello-the-moor-of-venice-205732