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Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury and Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma in Bridgerton


The dreamy spires of Oxford University have welcomed yet another acclaimed actor to the fold, as Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh has taken up her position as Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre for this academic year. In her inaugural speech, entitled Swinging the Lens: All Our Stories, which she gave to mark the beginning of her tenure, she said that her aim is to ‘give people the options to understand there’s a whole heap of stories out there… you just have to look for them’. Andoh praised the power of storytelling to ‘enliven, uplift and engage the human spirit’, while calling for a ‘wider storytelling embrace’. 

Dazzlingly glamorous, Andoh, 59, starred in Doctor Who in 2006 and Casualty in 2003, but is best known for her portrayal of Lady Danbury in the lockdown hit Bridgerton, streamed by 63 million households worldwide, for which she was nominated NAACP Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Drama. 

Founded by theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, the professorship is attached to St Catherine’s College, and it has been held by an illustrious succession of professors including Arthur Miller, Sir Ian McKellen and Tom Stoppard. Andoh is the 29th actor to hold this title since its inauguration by Stephen Sondheim in 1990, she is also the first black person to hold the chair in its 32-year history. Speaking to Franklin Nelson in the Financial Times, she says that, ‘it doesn’t feel like a particular first in that regard’, because ‘the history of colonisation applies to all of us’.