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South London PressBen at the back with, from left, Samantha Cregan, 15, Charlene George, 15 and Shane Dickens, 13

KIDS at a special school were treated to a visit by an actor and author attempting to serve up Shakespeare on toast.

Ben Crystal is on a mission to help people of all ages engage and understand one of this country’s writing greats.
He has written a new book called Shakespeare On Toast and has visited Pendragon school in Downham in a bid to bring some excitement to the famous plays and poems.

Ben said: “The kids were fantastic, it was such a great day, I was blown away by them.
“It’s a question of getting them to speak some Shakespeare and get away from the idea that its so difficult, and they really went for it.
“The problem in engaging with Shakespeare starts at school but it affects people in their 20s too, even my grandmother.
“It gets tarnished almost with the label of ‘literature’ and is seen as quite elitist but Shakespeare wrote for the masses.
“I try to make them remember that this stuff is a hundred years old but can still be compared with modern pop culture.”

The 31-year-old has acted in Shakespeare productions at the Globe in Southwark.
His book has been praised by Dame Judi Dench and award-winning director Sir Richard Eyre.
Copies of the book were donated to the school and some of the students received their own signed copy.

Pendragon School is a secondary school that caters for pupils with a range of additional needs and works with the company Artists in Residence to bring actors and performers to the children to help creative engagement.

Ben added: “I first saw the kids from this school down at South Bank performing music and I said, ‘I really want to part of this school’. The work the teachers do there is phenomenal and the kids are great.”

Michael Stringer

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