Paul Robeson's Othello


  • Intro

    African-American actor Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was the first black actor since 1860 to perform the role of Othello in a major production. Robeson was a remarkably talented man; a student sports star who played in the precursor to the NFL, an accomplished bass-baritone, and a fine actor on film and stage. As the son of an escaped slave, he also knew racism and prejudice, and his outspoken left-wing politics saw him victimised by the US's anti-Communist authorities and media of the 1950s.


    He first played Othello in England in 1930, and later took the production successfully to Broadway. But his final stage appearance, as Othello for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford in April 1959, was the most celebrated. The sound extract in the audio tab was recorded in April 1959 at a Royal Shakespeare Company production.


    Image Copyright: Getty Images.

  • Audio

    Can't play the file above? Listen to the audio clip here

Explore more timeline content: