How the tragic death of an intern inspired a new version of Shakespeare’s Othello set in the high-pressure world of London’s City Boys

James Barnes as Othello.

James Barnes as Othello.

Time Zone Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s Othello runs from 3-28 February at the historic Rose Playhouse on London’s Bankside.

Returning to The Rose after acclaimed productions of The Taming of the Shrew in 2013 and Orpheus and Eurydice in 2014, Time Zone’s Othello transfers Shakespeare’s tragedy to the cityscape of modern London.

Director Pamela Schermann promises “an abyss of power and intrigue, riddled with suspicion and jealousy. Beneath the surface of this civilised and polite environment we encounter brutality and callousness.”

Trevor Murphy as Iago.

Trevor Murphy as Iago.

In part, Schermann, says she was inspired by the tragic death of an intern at the London office of an international bank.

“He died after working continuously for 72 hours,” she says. “Although it is uncertain whether his death was caused by exhaustion or a medical condition, the excessive hours at work illustrate a brutal business practice, where money is more important than people.”

Schermann’s fast-paced adaptation cuts Othello down to its five main characters, with the entire play set in the meeting room of the company’s office.


The cast comprises James Barnes (Othello), Trevor Murphy (Iago), Samantha Lock (Desdemona), Ella Duncan (Emilia), and Denholm Spurr (Cassio).

Schermann’s production aims to evoke an atmosphere of claustrophobia and ultra-high pressure where everyone is under constant surveillance.

“There’s always someone watching you,” says Schermann, “analysing your every move and waiting for an opportunity to stab you in your back.”

Go here for more onTime Zone Theatre.

Go here for more on The Rose Playhouse and to book tickets.