Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Case Histories

Forgotten history?

...Errol John's Othello

Errol John

In January 1963, ERROL JOHN--the Trinidadian actor and playwright, author of the modern masterpiece Moon on a Rainbow Shawl, recently revived by the National Theatre and toured across Britain by Talawa -- the first black actor to play Othello at the Old Vic, the London home of Shakespeare.

Errol John's haunted Othello, a man painfully sensitive to his dangerous position in a hostile society, brought Shakespeare and the realities of contemporary Britain together.

The production was followed the next year at the Old Vic by Laurence Olivier's Othello, and is almost forgotten.

He was so defensive it was as if he was unconsciously aware of his second-class-ness, and this made him guarded..." (James Earl Jones)

Integrated casting in schools production

Read about Jamaican-born Dereck Tapper who played Romeo in a production at a teacher training college in Exeter in 1970.

R&J schools production integrated cast

Were you there?

Tell us your story

Your memories will bring this and other lost stories back to life.

Alternatively, our e-mail address is