Monday, 13 May 2019

1623 theatre company, whose mantra is to “see Shakespeare differently”, has been awarded an Arts Council grant to develop their 2020 show Othello's Sister.

Theatremaker Lauren Nicole Whitter came up with the idea when she was on the company’s 2018 development programme, run by 1623 artistic director Ben Spiller and prolific artist Michael Pinchbeck.

The show centres on Othello's sister, a character that Lauren has created. Lauren has also drawn on her personal family history. Her grandmother came to Britain on HMT Empire Windrush. The story explores the legacy of the Windrush generation and what it means to be British, Black and female today. It switches between Jamaica of the 1950s and contemporary Britain.

In Lauren's story, Othello has travelled to Britain on Windrush. A family crisis arises in Jamaica and the family tries to contact Othello, but he doesn't respond.

Ben Spiller said, “We’re thrilled that the Arts Council is supporting us. The grant will make it possible for Lauren to build up the character of Othello's sister and give her a voice in the here and now. This will involve workshopping ideas at our home, QUAD arts centre in Derby, and at Sheffield Hallam University.”

Lauren performed a short extract from the show in March as part of celebrations to mark International Women's Day in Derby. She will also take the show to a scratch day at the Pulse Festival in Ipswich, where audience feedback will help shape the development.

In October, to coincide with Black History Month, Lauren and 1623 will run workshops at Sheffield Hallam University, where BAME communities will be invited to create and share their own stories and present them at a scratch night alongside Othello's Sister

Joining Lauren to develop the show in Sheffield will be co-devisers Selina Thompson (salt. at the Royal Court) and 1623 associate artist Oliver Alvin-Wilson (Nine Night at the National Theatre).

Follow @OthellosSister on Twitter for all the latest news.


  • Lauren Nicole Whitter is available for interviews and/or photoshoots
  • Contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or 01332 285434 for more details

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