Derek Jacobi

Theatre Credits, Bio and Tickets


Born in London in 1938, Derek Jacobi studied at the University of Cambridge, reading History, but joined the Birmingham Repertory Theatre at 22. His talent was recognised by Laurence Olivier who invited him to London to cofound the new National Theatre. He played Laertes in Hamlet alongside Peter O’Toole, and was cast as Cassio in Othello. Jacobi spent eight years at the National Theatre, before closely working with Ian Mckellen who also admired Jacobi during their time at Cambridge together.

In 1986, Jacobi made his West End debut in Hugh Whitemore’s Breaking the Code, who wrote the play with Jacobi specifically in mind for the starring role of Alan Turing. This play was then taken to Broadway and received great reviews. Jacobi first directed for Kenneth Branagh in the Renaissance Theatre Company’s production of Hamlet. On the back of Hamlet’s success, he toured the world and was even invited to play at the setting of the play at Kronborg Castle, Denmark. He made his Broadway debut in The Suicide.

Outside the theatre, Jacobi became well known for his breakthrough role as Emperor Claudius in I, Claudius and Richard II, the latter starring John Gielgud. He also starred in an episode of Frasier, as well as films Gladiator, Breaking the Code and The King's Speech

Jacobi has won the Laurence Olivier Award for his performances in *Cyrano de Bergerac* and *Twelfth Night.* More recent notable works include Don Carlos at the Gielgud Theatre, and King Lear at the National Theatre. In 2016, he played Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, alongside Richard Madden and Lily James.

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