New Theatre Quarterly

Research Article

Paul Robeson's Othello at the Savoy Theatre, 1930

Michael A. Morrison

Abstract

Paul Robeson's Othello, first seen in London during the season of 1929–30, stands as a high-water mark of twentieth-century Shakespearean interpretation. Robeson was the first actor of African descent to appear in an extended-run Shakespearean production at a leading West End venue (Ira Aldridge, whose last London appearance came sixty-five years earlier, had made only three brief appearances at major London theatres). Here, Michael A. Morrison examines the circumstances surrounding Robeson's London Othello in 1930 and the far-reaching influence of his achievement on future generations of performers and playgoers. Michael A. Morrison is a New York-based writer and teacher. He is the author of John Barrymore, Shakespearean Actor (Cambridge University Press, 1997) and the forthcoming Paul Robeson's Othello.

(Online publication May 11 2011)