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Ring of Envy - Intermission Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FORMER British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Julius Francis, will make his acting debut alongside the Intermission Youth Theatre in Ring of Envy, a new contemporary play based on Shakespeare’s Othello, with all the action set in a boxing ring.

Directed by Darren Raymond, Ring of Envy explores the universal themes of jealousy, manipulation and revenge and receives its London premiere at Intermission Theatre (St Saviour’s Church), where it runs for a four-week season from Thursday, October 25 to Saturday, November 17, 2012.

Othello is a highly esteemed boxer at The Ring Youth Club, at a gym owned by Frank (Julius Francis). The championships are fast approaching but when Othello chooses Michael Cassio over his ambitious best friend, Iago, as his corner man, it sends Iago into a rage of jealousy. Iago begins an evil and malicious campaign against Othello, that leads to a tragic end…

Social media, Facebook and texting are wonderful developments to aid our modern world; however, when abused and mistreated the consequences can be disastrous. It seems that in our present youth culture we are prepared to believe what we see in print and what a friend of a friend says about us. Ring of Envy speaks directly to this.

Now in its fourth year, Intermission Youth Theatre uses drama to engage young people from London’s inner-city communities who are at risk of offending or who lack opportunity. This work takes the form of drama workshops which culminate in staging plays inspired by Shakespeare and devised and performed by the members of the workshops.

Darren Raymond, Artistic Director of Intermission, is an actor, writer and director who found his love of Shakespeare while in prison. He now uses his talent to make Shakespeare more accessible to today’s young people by developing a unique way of blending Shakespeare’s text with the language of the streets. Earlier this year, in recognition of his work with young people, he was invited to meet Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Having first studied and workshopped Othello with the company, Raymond has taken their language and used it in an engaging way to create a bold, fresh and cutting edge piece of theatre.

The company began in the spring of 2008 with young people from various areas of London while others came from the organisation ‘At Risk of Offending’ based in Woolwich. In June 2009, Intermission connected with the Kensington and Chelsea ‘Youth Offending Team’ (Y.O.T) who began bringing their young people to drama classes.

The company’s previous productions include Verona Road, based on Romeo and Juliet and Wasted inspired by Julius Caesar.

Julius Francis had 48 professional boxing fights and held the British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Titles, winning a Lonsdale belt outright by winning three British Title Fights. In total, he won four British Title fights and five Commonwealth Title Fights. He challenged twice for the European Title and was privileged to have shared a boxing ring with four World Title holders, including Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko.

Tickets: £12, £8 concessions – available from the box office on 020 7581 4620 or online at www.iyt.org.uk/.

Time: Wedesday to Saturday at 7.30pm.

Intermission Theatre, St Saviour’s Church, Walton Place, London, SW3 1SA