Othello: Study Day

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Deep dive into Othello and explore our 2024 production of Shakespeare’s blistering tragedy with this interactive and insightful Study Day.

Spend an afternoon with expert academics and artists to explore the themes and characters of the play through a series of illuminating talks and discussions. You’ll learn more about the historical, social, and cultural context in which it was written and how it has been brought to life on stage throughout the last four centuries.

You’ll end the day with a Q&A with members of the acting company of our 2024 production, giving you the chance to ask questions and gain further insight into this winter’s show.

This Study Day can be enjoyed on its own but is also a perfect introduction to our production of Othello, so why not round off your day with a ticket to the evening performance following the Study Day? Show tickets are purchased separately.



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Please note, under 18s must be accompanied by an adult ticket holder for this event

This event is on-site.

Running time is approximately 6 hours, including breaks

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12.00pm Welcome with Dr Hanh Bui, Teaching and Research Fellow (Shakespeare’s Globe) 

12.15–1.15pm Session 1: Othello and the Performance of Race with Dr Paul Prescott, Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance (University of Warwick).

Novelist Ben Okri once observed that ‘if Othello did not begin as a play about race, then history has made it one.’ This talk explores the stage history of the play, focusing on landmark moments in the representation of race. It finishes with a firsthand account of Clint Dyer’s historic 2022 production at the National Theatre.

1.15–2.15pm  Break for lunch 

2.15–3.15pm Session 2: Bollywood’s Othello: A Familiar Stranger’ with Dr Varsha Panjwani, Lecturer (New York University – London). 

Othello is a play about strangers – people who cross visible and invisible borders that society creates in the name of race, religion, colour, and gender. So, what happens when the play itself crosses borders and lands in Bollywood? This session takes a detailed look at Omkara, Vishal Bhardwaj’s 2006 Bollywood adaptation of Othello, to show that unfamiliar perspectives such as this one from India are vital to understanding this tale about strangers.

3.15–3.30pm  Break 

3.30–4.30pm Session 3: ‘“A maid called Barbary: Female Communities, Race and Service’ with Dr Iman Sheeha, Senior Lecturer in English (Brunel University London).

What can Barbary, Desdemonas mother’s maid, tell us about early modern women in service? What if her name were not simply a nickname (from Barbara) and actually a reference to her origin in Barbary, the region in North Africa? What does Desdemona’s evocation of this woman of colour at a moment of intimacy and vulnerability, which also includes Emilia, tell us about female networks, race and service in the period? 

4.30–5.00pm  Tea break – provided 

5.00–6.00pm  Q&A with members of the Othello cast 


Introducing the speakers for this Study Day