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UK comic Lenny Henry talks about reciting Shakespeare's Othello in Cornwall in England's West Country  and his love of travelling to Africa for  the Comic Relief charity. He also has fond memories of visits to Australia and New Zealand.


"I love Cornwall, it's a fantastic retreat from London, and relatively peaceful. Unless, of course, I am rehearsing for a play".


Lenny made his professional stage debut as an actor in Othello last year and admits the serenity that Cornwall offers has certain advantages. "Going abroad as much as I do allows me to appreciate Britain in general as well as Cornwall in particular."

Lenny Henry

But it's not just the sea breeze that appeals to Lenny about Cornwall. "I've discovered all these cliff sidewalks where it's great to bellow out text from Othello without disturbing anybody. Apart from the dog, of course. He just looks judgemental when he thinks I'm not quite getting it right!"

"It's the little things that you don't notice when you are here, but really notice when you come back. Things like the news being far less biased, in Britain, than it is anywhere else in the world, way more balanced and objective." Indeed it seems Lenny Henry even prefers the television in the UK as opposed to abroad, so where does he like to travel?

"I've discovered all these great cliff walks where it is great to bellow out text from Othello without disturbing anyone..."

"I've had great times all over the world, in places as far-flung as Vancouver in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, although I have a soft spot for Africa. I go there a lot, to places such as The Sudan and Ethiopia, for Comic Relief and while of course there are terrible stories of hardship - most of the poorest countries in the world are in Africa - there is also much hope and much goodness. I can't think of a country without thinking of the promise and optimism which medical assistance and support has brought there."

Looking back in retrospect at his travels Lenny recalls, "visiting a woman in Ethiopia, who was dying of Aids. The sheer heartbreak of seeing her young son beside her, unable to understand why she was so ill."    

A faint smile slips across his face. "But then she gets treatment and I open the Comic Relief magazine that we publish and there's a picture of her, smiling and happy with her son beside her. How can you not feel warm about a place in the world when that kind of miracle can happen there?"


The Cornish Coast


"My most recent association with Africa has been through providing voices for a CBBC series called Tinga Tinga Tales. A lot of the programmes were made at this really vibrant new animation and recording studio called Homeboyz, in Nairobi in Kenya,   and now that the series has been made there, they are inundated with work, which is fantastic!" He continues.

Unfortunately, Lenny's busy schedule stopped him from travelling out to Kenya to record the voices of characters such as Elephant. However, if the chance to travel out to Africa were to surface again Lenny wouldn't think twice about the prospect, claiming that, "if we film some more Tinga Tinga Tales, I definitely want to get out there and see the place for myself."

Providing hope for people in what Lenny does best. In his own words, "a success story in Africa, with all the problems that continent has endured, is something to get excited about. I'm just pleased to help."




New Zealand: www.newzealand.com
Comic Relief: www.comicrelief.com
This article appeared on WhereAndNow.com WhereAndNow is a London-centric magazine that provides inspiration on where to eat, sleep, drink, travel as well as upcoming events in the English capital
Update 9/8/10
Cornwall image copyright © John Stedman Sundial Photographics www.johnstedman.co.uk

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