The first black King of England will be crowned
in Warwickshire in November.
David Oyelowo, whose family comes from Nigeria,
will take the lead role in Richard Vl. It comes to the RSC stage from
the Autumn in the Swan Theatre and will transfer to London next year.
The 24-year-old who trained at the London Academy
of Music and Dramatic art (LAMDA) has appeared in the Swan before as
Bonaire in Vulpine, as well as Abeam in Oronoco, and Men crates and
Decrease in Antony and Cleopatra on the main stage. He said:
“Hopefully it will pave the way for other
actors. The more barriers come down the better.”
He was up against white actors for the role, and
the RSC said he got the job on merit. This is not a ‘black’
performance of the play
Her said black people were rarely offered lead
roles in plays and TV work is often a diet of playing drug dealers.
He should soon be on the screen with a Filmfour
comedy, not yet released, called Dog Eat Dog.
On the TV screen, his credits include: Brothers
and Sisters, Off Limits, Maisie Raine and King of Hearts. Other
theatre credits include: Suppliants, Mirad, Little Shop of Horrors,
and Los Escombros.
The decision to cast a black man as a white
English monarch, who will have white offspring in the performances,
comes after a black Othello appears on a Stratford stage for the first
time in 40 years.
Ray Fearon, taking on the role of the Moor, is
the first black Othello at Stratford since Paul Robson played the role
The play has not been on the main stage for 15
years. The most recent performance saw a white man ‘blacking up’
to take on the role of the Moor.