Cheek by Jowl, the renowned UK theatre company founded in 1981, goes back on the road this month, with their first English-language Shakespeare production in six years. Opening initially at Lille in France, Othello runs at the Oxford Playhouse from 23 to 27 March 2004, then continues until 29 May to six further UK venues, as well as France and Italy, ahead of a more extensive international tour.

The production reunites Nonso Anozie, playing the title role, with Cheek by Jowl’s Declan Donnellan, who directed his King Lear for the RSC Academy in 2002. More recently, Anozie played Kenneth Branagh’s cellmate in Edmond at the National.

Anozie is joined in the Othello cast by Jonny Phillips (Iago), Caroline Martin (Desdemona), Ryan Kiggell (Cassio), Matthew Douglas (Rodrigo), David Hobbs (Brabantio), Jaye Griffiths (Emilia), Kirsty Besterman (Bianca) and Robin Pearce (the chorus).

With Donnellan and designer and co-founder Nick Ormerod wanting to pursue other freelance projects, Cheek by Jowl, once a UK touring fixture, temporarily disbanded after their 1998 production of Much Ado About Nothing, which transferred to the West End. Over the past six years, the pair’s international productions have included Boris Godunov, Le Cid, a Russian Twelfth Night and a new Romeo and Juliet for the Bolshoi Ballet, as well as Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul, which had a 2002 season at London’s Young Vic.

After its UK dates, Othello will continue until October 2004, visiting Portugal, Australia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ireland and the US.

- by Hannah Kennedy