Shakespeare on Toast – 2nd!

    Well, it’s somehow been 8 years since Shakespeare on Toast was first published.

    We’ve refreshed the cover (butter now, instead of bread), I’ve added 3 new chapters, a film watch list, and generally given things a good spring clean.

    For those of you who’ve wondered why I’ve taken so long to write a post here (the last one was in 2014, to my chagrin) – head over to where I’m spending most of my time…


    Actor, producer and director Ben Crystal revisits his acclaimed book on Shakespeare for the 400th anniversary of his death, updating and adding three new chapters.

    Shakespeare on Toast knocks the stuffing from the staid old myth of the Bard, revealing the man and his plays for what they really are: modern, thrilling, uplifting drama.

    The bright words and colourful characters of the greatest hack writer are brought brilliantly to life, sweeping cobwebs from the Bard – his language, his life, his world, his sounds, his craft. Crystal reveals man and work as relevant, accessible and alive – and, astonishingly, finds Shakespeare’s own voice amid the poetry.

    Whether you’re studying Shakespeare for the first time or you’ve never set foot near one of his plays but have always wanted to, this book smashes down the walls that have been built up around this untouchable literary figure.


    The Winter’s Tale

    A blog: on directing Winter’s Tale, and taking Original Pronunciation into the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse




    Primrose Hill Lectures 2014 – St Mary’s, NW3, Central London – June 11th

    Giving a talk on Shakespeare, Original Pronunciation, and more, in Central London next month. Twill be at 7pm on June 11th at St Mary’s Church, NW3, as part of the Primrose Hill Lectures 2014 series, in association with Primrose Hill Books.

    For more details, and to buy tickets, head here: Primrose Hill Lectures 2014 at St Mary’s

    Original Pronunciation // Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe // July 2014

    Back from a Passion in Practice workshop and Shakespeare on Toast Schools Workshops and a Springboard Shakespeare book tour around the USA. Coached a Company in their Original Pronunciation in Houston, worked with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, colleges in northern and central California, members of the Bristol Faire Ensemble in Chicago, visited the Folger Library in DC, gave a talk and a workshop at the Blackfriars Theatre in Staunton, VA, and spent 10 days in NYC, running workshops and giving talks in celebration of our Bard’s 450th.

    A terrific month.

    Back to the UK, to finish work on the new Oxford Illustrated Dictionary of Shakespeare for OUP that lands April 2015, that I’m co-writing with my father, and a book on accents for Macmillan called You Say Potato, that he’s writing with me, which will land October 2014.

    Meanwhile, am getting ready to direct The Winter’s Tale in June, and preparing the Original Pronunciation events for the Shakespeare’s Globe this July.

    My Shakespeare Ensemble, Dad and I will be presenting three events in the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. An evening of Prose and Poetry on July 10th, an evening of Songs and Sonnets on July 17th, to include new scorings of Shakespeare’s songs composed by Sam Amidon, played live by The Askew Sisters, ending with a cue-script rehearsed, staged reading by candle-light of Macbeth on July 20th – all to be heard in the recreation of the accent Shakespeare’s Company spoke in.

    You can hear the accent here: Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation

    Houston, San Francisco, NYC, DC, Virginia – April Tour

    Here below, details of my book-talk & workshop tour around the USA

    April 2014

    4th-11th, University of Houston Downtown, Original Pronunciation (Workshop)
    10th, Shakespeare on Toast, Annunciation Orthodox School, 1pm
    San Francisco
    14th, Pacific Union College, Shakespeare’s Verse (Workshop)
    17th, Santa Clara University, Shakespeare’s Verse (Workshop), 2pm
    17th, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare’s Verse (Workshop), 7pm
    18th-19th, Shakespeare’s Ensemble (Workshop)
    23rd, NYPL, Shakespeare on Toast 1.15pm
    25th & 28th, Washington DC
    26th-27th, Original Practices talks and workshops, Blackfriars Playhouse, American Shakespeare Centre
    28th, Shakespeare’s Verse (Open Workshop)
    29th, Sayville School, Long Island
    30th, Emma Willard School, Troy
    1st May, Shakespeare’s Verse (Open Workshop)

    The Once & Future Shakespeare – Oxford Lit Fest – 27th March 2014

    Come & see my new talk next week – The Once & Future Shakespeare – 12pm, Thurs 26th March

    As we approach Shakespeare’s 450th birthday celebration, what do the next 50 years hold for his works?

    Actor and producer Ben Crystal, author of Shakespeare on Toast, Springboard Shakespeare, and co-author of Shakespeare’s Words and the Shakespeare’s Miscellany) discusses why our current approach to Shakespeare’s works may need to change, how we can learn from the practices of the past to see our way forward, and the dramatic effect these lessons may have on the existing canon.

    Excerpts from Shakespeare will be performed by Ben and members of his Shakespeare ensemble. all trained in cue-script rehearsal techniques, where each is only given their lines, and the first encounter with one’s fellow actors is on stage, in front of a paying audience…


    Click here to book tickets


    Shakespeare Week – The Telegraph

    Proud to be an ambassador for Shakespeare Week – here’s a piece I wrote for The Telegraph, with my top 5 ways to engage your kids in Shakespeare:

    The key fits the lock, the engine growls, the car roars into life, when acted. It’s what the words were written for.

    Shakespeare Week

    British Council, London – 12th Feb, 2014

    Giving a talk at the British Council, which is open to all to come to, & is apparently being given a LIVE equally free Webcast for those who can’t.

    Register here to come/see:

    Time Magazine – 20/9/13

    Time Magazine interviewed me last week about Shakespeare in Original Pronunciation. Here’s a link to the piece:

    Ben Crystal – Time Magazine

    The Passion in Practice Workshop last weekend went terrific well. Do head to Passion in Practice Cinematography to see the video footage.

    Open Workshop with Ben Crystal & Company – London – September 2013

    Come and work with the Passion in Practice Company

    A day-long intensive workshop, introducing our work towards fresh and accessible approaches to playing Shakespeare.

    Over the course of the day we will share our method in finding fluency with Shakespearean text, to discover a truthful and simple way of speaking verse.

    The workshop will include:

    • Text and rhythm exploration
    • Performing Shakespeare with a free physicality
    • Speech and scene analysis
    • Mini Sonnet workshop with Will Sutton  **NEW**
    • RP accent absolutely not required…

    Places limited

    £50 / £40*

    14th September, 10-6pm

    Central London – Moving East

    Interested participants please email your CV by clicking here

    *Early bird rate for the first 10 participants