Learn more about Cush Jumbo's career ahead of 'Macbeth' in the West End

The acclaimed stage actor and star of television's The Good Fight leads the West End transfer of Shakespeare's Scottish play opposite David Tennant.

Julia Rank
Julia Rank

If you missed Cush Jumbo and David Tennant in Macbeth at the Donmar Warehouse, fear not! The acclaimed production directed by Max Webster (Henry V, Life of Pi) transfers to the Harold Pinter Theatre this autumn with both leads reprising their roles as Macbeth and his Lady. Don’t miss the chance to catch this brilliantly acted and technologically inventive production.

Jumbo is one of the most exciting talents of her generation and the winner of the Ian Charleson Award, the Evening Standard Emerging Talent Award, and a Critics’ Circle Award. She is also a two-time Olivier nominee. And that’s not to mention her American television stardom. In 2015, she received an OBE for services to drama. Read our guide to this extraordinary actor’s career so far.

Check back for Macbeth tickets on London Theatre soon.

Cush Jumbo’s beginnings

Cush Jumbo was born in 1985 and raised in south London by a British mother and Nigerian father. She began dance lessons at the age of three and trained at Glenlyn Stage School, followed by the Francis Cooper School of Dance. At 14, she successfully auditioned for the BRIT School.

Jumbo continued with her professional training at the Central School of Speech and Drama, where she graduated with a first class honours degree.

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Cush Jumbo on stage

Jumbo's early stage roles included Maria in Love’s Labour’s Lost at Shakespeare’s Globe and Nehushta in Brixton Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith.

She rose to prominence at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre in 2010, where she received huge acclaim for her performance as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion and earned a commendation in the Ian Charleson Awards. The following year, she won first prize for her Rosalind in As You Like It. She completed a trio of classical leading lady roles for the Royal Exchange with her Nora in A Doll’s House in 2013, for which she won a UK Theatre Award.

Classical work has been the backbone of Jumbo’s stage career. She played Constance in She Stoops to Conquer at the National Theatre in 2012, and later in the year, she played Mark Antony in Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse, for which she earned an Olivier nomination. She reprised the role the following year when the production transferred to New York’s St Ann’s Warehouse. Also in New York, she played Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare in the Park (2016), another all-female production directed by Lloyd.

In 2013, Jumbo premiered her self-penned one-woman play Josephine and I, about jazz singer and performance artist Josephine Baker, at the Bush Theatre. The production won an Emerging Talent Award at the Evening Standard Awards, and it transferred to New York’s The Public Theater in 2015.

Jumbo’s work in contemporary plays has included Penelope Skinner’s Fred’s Diner (2012) at Chichester Festival Theatre; the New York transfer of Jez Butterworth’s The River (2014), with Hugh Jackman and Laura Donnelly, and DC Moore’s Common (2017) at the National Theatre, opposite Anne-Marie Duff.

Jumbo took on one of the biggest challenges of her career so far when she played the title role in Hamlet at the Young Vic in 2021. London Theatre’s critic was dazzled by Jumbo’s “biting, street-smart Hamlet, savage in mimicry and mockery of others, sullen and bitter in isolation, and teetering on the edge of violence… I particularly loved Jumbo's punchy phrasing, the way that she prowls through the text and pounces on unexpected words that give it new life.” She was nominated for an Olivier Award and won the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance.

She followed up this triumph with Lady Macbeth at the Donmar Warehouse. London Theatre’s review noted that the “excellent” Jumbo is positioned “unusually, as the shred of conscience that her husband gradually shrugs off”.

Cush Jumbo on screen

Jumbo made her screen debut in the sitcom My Family, followed by a regular role in the medical drama Harley Street. She played the main role of Lois Habiba in the third series of Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood; a recurring role on the sitcom Lip Service; and appeared as DC Bethany Whelan on crime drama Vera.

However, it was on the other side of the Atlantic where Jumbo’s television career really took off. Cast as rising star attorney Lucca Quinn in the seventh season of the CBS legal drama The Good Wife, she reprised the role in the spin-off The Good Fight, alongside Christine Baranski and Rose Leslie. In 2018, Jumbo was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Television Award for her role as Quinn.

Most recently, Jumbo has starred in the British miniseries The Beast Must Die and Stay Close.

On the big screen, Jumbo has appeared in Remainder (2015), City of Tiny Lights (2016), and The Postcard Killings (2020).

Cush Jumbo’s other work

Jumbo’s short play The Accordion Shop, inspired by the 2011 London riots, was performed as part of the National Theatre youth programme. She co-wrote the musical Rebels and Retail, which was shortlisted for the Perfect Pitch West End Showcase in 2008. She is also the co-author of the book 101 Dance Ideas age 5-11.

Don’t miss the chance to see this multi-faceted talent in action in one of Shakespeare’s most iconic roles this autumn. All hail Cush Jumbo!

Check back for Macbeth tickets on London Theatre soon.

Originally published on

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