Full casting and creative team have been announced for The Watermill Ensemble’s bold new production of William Shakespeare’s Othello, adapted by Karla Marie Sweet, co-directed by Paul Hart and Anjali Mehra. The production will feature a fusion of modern and soulful music underscoring the action and performed in the theatre’s inimitable style by a company of actor musicians breathing new life into Shakespeare’s classic text. Othello will play at The Watermill from Friday 16 September until Saturday 15 October.
Kalungi Ssebandeke (The Duchess of Malfi – Almeida, Blood Knot – The Orange Tree) will play ‘Othello’, Sophie Stone (Emillia – West End, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – National Theatre), will play ‘Iago’ and Molly Chesworth (Call the Midwife – BBC, Macbeth – Watermill) will play ‘Desdemona’. Laura Andresen Guimarães (Just So – The Watermill, Swallows and Armenians – Cumbria Opera Group)will play ‘Bianca’, Damien James (Camelot – Watermill, The Play That Goes Wrong – West End and UK tour) will play ‘Montano, Ediz Mahmut (Rumi – London Coliseum, Carousel – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) will play ‘Roderigo’, Yazdan Qafouri (The Wicker Husband – Watermill, I Came By – Netflix) will play ‘Cassio’, Benedict Salter (Lone Flyer – The Watermill, A Christmas Carol – Derby Theatre) will play ‘The Duke of Venice / Lodovico’, Augustina Seymour (Pictures of Dorian Grey – Jermyn Street, King Lear – Shakespeare’s Globe) will play ‘Brabanzia’, and Chioma Uma (Kiss Me Kate! – Watermill, Doctor Who Time Fracture – Immersive LDN) will play ‘Emilia’.
‘‘For she had eyes, and chose me’
A life torn apart by prejudice; Othello is a tender love story shattered by one man’s obsessive hate of another.
An ambitious and respected military man, Othello is deployed to lead his unit against an impending invasion. But when Cassio is promoted over Iago, deep-rooted tensions are ignited and a jealous plot is set in motion which will change everything for Othello and his new wife, Desdemona.
Shot through with the pain of betrayal and the fury of deceit, The Watermill Ensemble weave live music into this powerful and bold new adaptation of Othello.
Paul Hart and Anjali Mehra said,
“The Watermill ensemble is all about creating dynamic new adaptations of Shakespeare. With a 50/50 gender split, a diverse team and actor musicians breathing fresh life into this beautiful and devastating play. Music will play a central role with music from Billie Eilish, Emeli Sandé, Childish Gambino, Michael Kiwanuka and The Fugees.
The themes represented in the play of prejudice, propaganda, social mobility and mental health feel searingly relevant in today’s mindset and consciousness. We can’t wait to get cracking with this amazing cast!”
Othello is adapted from William Shakespeare by Karla Marie Sweet, co-directed by Paul Hart and Anjali Mehra, who also choreographs, and designed by Ceci Calf, Nadine Lee is musical director, with lighting design by Ali Hunter, sound design by Ed Lewis, and projection design by Sam Diaz. Kirk-Ann Roberts is associate director and Nandi Bhebhe is associate choreographer.
The Stage Management team consists of Natalie Toney (DSM) and Fern Bamber (ASM), Amelia Costello ASM Placement, with audio description by Colin Johnson. There will be two BSL integrated performances of Othello delivered by two sign performers with the support of a deaf BSL consultant.