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Lectures from the Allen Room & Wertheim Study: Shakespeare on Toast


April 23, 2014

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Who’s afraid of William Shakespeare?  Just about everyone.  He wrote too much and what he wrote is inaccessible and elitist.  Right?  Wrong. 

Shakespeare on Toast knocks the stuffing from the staid old myth of Shakespeare, revealing the man and his plays for what they really are: modern, thrilling, uplifting drama.  The colourful words and vibrant world of the world’s greatest hack writer are brought brilliantly to life by actor Ben Crystal.   Sweeping cobwebs from the Bard – his language, his life, his world - Crystal reveals man and work as relevant, accessible, alive.   This Shakespeare is for everyone, whether you’re studying him for the first time or you’ve never set foot near one of his plays, but have always wanted to.  It smashes down the walls that have been built up around him, that have turned Big Bill into an untouchable literary figure.  Shakespeare, Crystal reminds us, invented popular culture. 

Ben Crystal is an actor and writer. He studied English Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University, before training as an actor.  He has worked in television, film and theatre, including the 2006 season at Shakespeare’s Globe, and is a narrator for RNIB Talking Books, Channel 4 and the BBC.  Clips of Ben’s acting and narration work can be seen and heard at his main website   He co-wrote Shakespeare’s Words (2002) and The Shakespeare Miscellany (2005) with his father, David Crystal, and his new series of introductions to the plays, Springboard Shakespeare, was published by Bloomsbury in June 2013.   He regularly gives workshops on performing and speaking Shakespeare via his ensemble, Passion in Practice.  He lives in London and Tweets via @bencrystal