While Victor Oshin’s stage debut as Othello looks set to be awe inspiring, bracing and historic in equal measure, his own life story is as dramatic.

And yet a turbulent childhood in East London, mental health issues, a stalled career as a top British athlete and his decision to walk away from his acting career just when he was getting somewhere, have all made him who he is, and certainly the characters he plays on stage.

Which is why he was handpicked for the lead part in Oxford Playhouse’s first 80th Anniversary Season co-production and national tour, while still in drama school – his talent, and star quality, evident to everyone who comes in contact with him.

But what of this pressure? After all life has thrown at him, will Victor rise to the occasion, cope with the pressure of playing the lead in Shakespeare’s famous Moorish play about the corruption of power, and the consequences of prejudice, or is it too much to ask of the 27 year-old?

“I’m not going to lie, it’s massive and every black actor wants to play this iconic part at some time in their career, but to play it first is amazing in itself,” he admits.

“And yes, I’ve been through a bit of strife.... and life, but I’m proud of my experiences. They have made me who I am and I can use certain aspects of that in my acting. They are my tools to help make my characters more real, so it will be a journey for both of us, for sure, Othello and me!”

But we are leaping ahead of ourselves, because right now, as Victor prepares to make his debut on the Oxford Playhouse stage he is an unknown, the weight of Shakespeare’s Venetian tragedy currently lying on his athletic shoulders, as he waits impatiently for rehearsals to end and the curtain to go up on what he hopes will be a pivotal moment in his career.

And yet the chances of him making it here were minimal.

Initially destined to be a British athletic star, competing for the UK in javelin, coached by none other than Olympic medallist Tessa Sanderson, training six or seven times a week, he was earmarked for great things.

But when injured in an “altercation” his rehabilitation period allowed him to try other things, drama being one of them, and once Victor dipped his toe in the water, he was hooked. “I just loved it,” he remembers.

“But in a way athletics and drama are quite similar. You train to perform and put in all that hard work for the end result. Plus you have to be seriously determined to succeed in either.”

Choosing acting over javelin throwing, Victor said he became quite reclusive, reading plays and watching films at home instead of getting into trouble.

What kind of trouble? “I was aware of what was going on, on the streets, but I just didn’t want to be that person. You have to stick to your guns. I guess I just knew I had it in me,” is all he will say.

Instead Victor applied to the Academy of Live Arts and Recording in Wandsworth and got in. But two years later it all went wrong, admitting he had a problem with authority, and was kicked out.

And then what? With no athletics and no drama to throw himself into, he took up bar work, landing a job at Soho House.

But slowly, his life choices caught up with him. Depression and anxiety followed and it wasn’t until Victor realised that it all stemmed from the fact that he hadn’t followed his dreams - and asked ALAR if he could come back - that his mental health problems began to recede.

Looking back Victor says: “I’d lost all my confidence and I needed to be doing what I loved and get back into acting. But it also meant I needed to be in the right mindset, to knuckle down and do the training.”

So what was the problem? “I didn’t have a very stable home life at the time. Not that I’m looking for excuses but let’s just say life got in the way. I was a rebel and wasn’t afraid to call anyone out on anything.

“ALAR asked if I was ready to finish what we started, and I have reconnected with my mum and my brothers. So it’s amazing to be here, after all that. It’s been quite a journey.”

So does he relate to Othello? “On some levels yes. Having grown up in Dagenham, where certain people are put in power and others feel ostracised and judged, I recognise the situation he’s in.

“But the person he becomes is something I can’t understand. We are all jealous in some way, but how can it come to that?

Does that make the part harder? “No, I just breath and try to take it all in and depict the hell he is experiencing while he tries to figure out what to do, where he can go, what’s happening.

“Because Othello is a thinking man. He questions and studies everything. So it’s exciting and scary and terrifying and physically exhausting and I can’t wait to get started.

“This I what we do it for, to go through the pain,” he laughs. “To find that emotional stamina to get through it.”

And after the performance, does he find it hard to leave it behind? “As soon as the curtain goes down it has to be over straight away. To realise Othello is not me, because self care is key in this industry, so in rehearsals I’ve been going for long walks in Battersea Park to get my head around it all so that there’s no remnants left. To let it go.

“Because this is such an exciting journey. The cast are like family and I’m so lucky to be here. Let alone landing a role like this.

“It’s like it was all meant to be, but without my guardian angels I wouldn’t be here or be able to do this.

“I feel ready for it now. I’ve grown into myself and I don’t waste time on regrets or looking backwards.

“I’m proud of what I’ve gone through, and I’ve embraced it and made something of myself. I just want to tell the stories that need to be told.”