The Royal Shakespeare Company is holding a special panel discussion to explore the links between Othello, Shakespeare’s great tragedy of love and prejudice, and the rise to power of Barack Obama, who is inaugurated today. The discussion is timed to coincide with the opening of the RSC's new touring production of the play, which opens at the Warwick Arts Centre on 30 January starring Patrice Naiambana in the title role.

Debating the question “Obama: is he an Othello for our times?” will be journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Oxford don Elizabeth Frazer, channel 4 news anchor Samira Ahmed and actor Ray Fearon, who played the role in Michael Attenborough’s 1999 production for the RSC. The panel will explore “whether parallels exist between the story of Othello and Obama’s journey to becoming the first black President of the United States” - leaving an obvious question regarding who is the modern-day Iago (Sarah Palin perhaps?!).

The discussion takes place between 5 and 6.30pm on 31 January at the Warwick Arts Centre.