Lenny started his stage acting at WYP, Leeds
A production of Othello that premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse has won an acting award for Lenny Henry.
Henry, who made his stage-acting debut in Leeds with Othello, won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Newcomer for his title role in Shakespeare's tale of betrayal.
Originally the play was a co-production between Northern Broadsides, based in Halifax, and West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Othello then transferred to London's West End.
Henry says of his inexperience on stage:
"My first time onstage was playing the black king in the school nativity play and I said 'I give you Frankenstein' instead of Frankincense, I was never asked back until (Barrie) Rutter asked me to play Othello."
Early in 2009, before taking on the title role at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Henry told BBC Radio Leeds' Graham Liver that he was "nervous and excited" and "out of his comfort zone".
Lenny Henry has said, "It seemed to me that Shakespeare was very much in the province of posh people.
"I'm black, I'm from Dudley, I'm working-class. Shakespeare's not for people like us. But then when you study it, the way I have. You realise that it's for everybody."
Lenny Henry's career really began back in 1975 when he won the TV talent show New Faces. Thirty years on Lenny has won wide recognition for his comedy and acting.
Henry's first professional taste of Shakespeare came in 2006 when he recorded Lenny and Will for BBC Radio 4. This programme saw him interviewing some of the country's leading Shakespeare directors including Barrie Rutter.
The Playhouse's Artistic Director Ian Brown says:
"(Lenny) worked incredibly hard to perfect his role as Othello, his dedication was impeccable and a courageous decision for an established performer to make. Othello is a project we are all extremely proud of and we wish Lenny much luck for the future."
West Yorkshire Playhouse opened in 1990 and Ian Brown was appointed in 2002, following the 12-year tenure of Jude Kelly, he has continued to develop the largest regional repertory theatre outside of London and Stratford. The building has two main arenas the Quarry Theatre (750 seats) and the Courtyard Theatre (350 seats).
Othello is currently playing at the Trafalgar Studios Theatre, London until December 2009.