Former British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Boxing Champion Julius Francis is to 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.
Ring of Envy, directed by Darren Raymond, explores the universal themes of jealousy, manipulation and revenge. It will get its London premiere in a four-week season at Intermission Theatre from Thursday 25 October - Saturday 17 November. Press night is Friday 26 October at 7.30pm
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 he was invited to meet Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace; recognising his work with young people. Having first studied and workshopped Othello with the company, Derren 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. Previous productions have included Verona Road, based on Romeo & 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 fights with Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko.
Intermission Theatre is located at St Saviour's Church, Walton Place,, London, SW3 1SA. The show will play Thursday, 25 October to Saturday, 17 November, Wedesday - Saturday at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12.00 (£8.00 concs). To book, visit www.iyt.org.uk or call the box office at 020 7581 4620.