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Week 3

This week the actors have been working on getting the scenes 'up on their feet'. This is a term actors and directors use to describe the process of physically acting a scene rather than simply reading the text or improvising around it. This process also helps actors explore the relationships between the characters. You can listen to the initial impressions of the characters from the cast on the interviews page, as well as watch director Bill Buckhurst talk about the relationship between Iago and Othello.

This week for the creative brief, we would like you to design costumes for Othello. Read through our interview with the designer below, then why not have a go at the creative brief on the right.

The actors have also started work on choreographing the fight scenes in the play. Check out the photos below to see the action from the rehearsal room.

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Week 3 Images

Lloyd [Othello], Jamie [Iago], Freddie [Cassio] and Leon [Montano]. (Photo: Cesare De Giglio)

Jamie [Iago] and Freddie [Cassio]. (Photo: Cesare De Giglio)

Director Bill Buckhurst and Jamie [Iago]. (Photo: Cesare De Giglio)

Getting the scenes up 'on their feet'. (Photo: Cesare De Giglio)

Director Bill Buckhurst with Jamie [Iago] and Alex [Roderigo]. (Photo: Cesare De Giglio)

Leon [Montano] and Freddie [Cassio] choreographing a fight. (Photo: Cesare De Giglio)

Alex [Roderigo] and Freddie [Cassio] choreographing a fight. (Photo: Cesare De Giglio)

Dickon [Brabantio & Lodovico] with the fight choreographer. (Photo: Cesare De Giglio)

Freddie [Cassio] and Leon [Montano]. (Photo: Cesare De Giglio)

Jamie [Iago]. (Photo: Cesare De Giglio)

Georgina [Emilia] and Dickon [Brabantio & Lodovico] choreographing a fight. (Photo: Cesare De Giglio)

Week 3 Blog

Interview with the Designer

We spoke to Hannah Clark, the designer for Othello, about creating the costumes for this year's Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production. Why not have a go at creating your own using our Creative brief?


What is your process when it comes to designing costumes?

Initially I always read the play to get a good sense of the characters and the journey of their costume. I then begin to collect reference images for discussion with the director - the costume designs then come out of these discussions. The designs are always influenced by how the costumes will be practically realised. This production of Othello for example - being set in WWI meant that much of the costume would be hired rather than bought or made - because of this the designs have to have a fluidity that will allow them to adapt to whatever we can find in the hire houses.

How have you decided to convey the WW1 theme in the clothing for the characters?

The vast majority of characters in Othello wear military uniform - although the piece is set within the Venitian army - we decided to use British WWI uniforms with adapted insignia - to indicate rank and status. The civilian costumes are also taken from the same era.

Are there certain elements from WW1-era fashion that you would like to emphasise in the characters clothing?

The three female characters are interesting in terms of women’s costume from the WWI era. Desdemona is wealthy, educated and self aware - so we wanted to go for something elegant but not too showy or ostentatious. Bianca as a high class courtesan allowed us to show off the more frivolous and flirtatious side of 1910s fashion. And we went for the image of a WW1 nurse for Emilia who is the much more practical and lower class woman of the three. 

Similarly, are there certain elements of characters identities that you would like to emphasise through their clothing?

We made very definite choices about the manner in which each military character would wear their uniform - for example Othello is always very smart and meticulously turned out to emphasise his discipline. The high ranking officials from Venice are all very clean and pressed and neat. Montano and all the soldiers who have been holding fort in Cyprus are all much more ragtag and battle worn.

What initially drew you to using WW1 as a theme for the production?

Othello is set in a military environment so when Bill (the Director) and I began researching the production we looked into various possible military settings. The history of black British soldiers during WWI was what initially drew us to the era - particularly that of the British West India regiment. WWI imagery was also in our collective minds due to the centenary commemorations - so it seemed a strong era to choose for the production.

Creative Brief


A creative brief is given to each member of the creative team working on the project. It is intended to help them structure their ideas and keep a focus on the director's intended vision for the production. Why not be creative yourself and design your own costume for the production using our costume brief...