As he begins a West End run in the musical Cabaret, the It’s a Sin star talks about his part in breaking down racial and sexual barriers in theatre and TV

Omari Douglas is a natural performer in the truest sense. We meet in the rehearsal space, where he’s preparing for a new production of Cabaret alongside Jessie Buckley and Eddie Redmayne at London’s Playhouse theatre. Although we’re cutting into his lunch break, the 27-year-old actor – and current favourite to be the next star of Doctor Who – gesticulates enthusiastically as if he’s used to being permanently on stage. “I’ve always admired how television and film can bring audiences together,” he beams.

The Playhouse’s Cabaret is the latest in a long line: the 1966 musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb was inspired by John Van Druten’s classic 1951 play I Am a Camera, which was itself an adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s 1939 novel Goodbye to Berlin. These facts are relayed to me by Douglas at breakneck speed; the actor has seen Cabaret three or four times. He is now stepping into the leading role of Clifford Bradshaw, a lost American novelist who arrives at Berlin’s seedy Kit Kat Club. “I’d never envisioned myself as a Cliff,” he says. “But we’re being given the space to find something new.”

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