Category Archive: Speaking Dates

    Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation – Live! – The British Library – May 4th, 6.30pm

    First, a very happy 448th birthday to Will… Your work never ceases to amaze. Well done. Take the rest of the day off.

    Now! This coming Star Wars Day, I’ll be giving a talk at the British Library based on the CD of Shakespeare sonnets, speeches and scenes I curated for the BL.

    Together with a fab line-up of actors, we’ll intercut the blah-blah-blah by performing speeches & scenes from Shakespeare in Original Pronunciation. Some will be from the CD, some won’t have been heard in OP for over 400 years… Come one, come all…!

    For details of the event, and to purchase tickets, click here

    How did Shakespeare sound to the audiences of the day?

    Ben Crystal, together with actors from the company formed for the new British Library Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation CD, offer us a rare chance to hear new meanings uncovered, new jokes revealed and poetic effects enhanced.


    ‘Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation’ is currently available on CD & to Download here.

    You can have a sneak preview to Sonnet 116, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet here


    Interview with Sir Richard Eyre, Hay Festival, May 28th 2011

    While working and speaking at the Hay Festival last week I interviewed Sir Richard Eyre, who ran the Royal National Theatre for ten years, published excerpts of his diaries of his time there in his National Service, and was at the Festival to interview his wife, the producer Sue Birtwistle, on the challenges of adaptation. I grabbed half an hour with him…

    There was a look in his eyes that made me speechless. Not a good way to start an interview, I grant you, but goosebumps shivered up my arms, I put down my pen and forgot about the dictaphone in my bag.

    He stared into the middle distance, watching the scene play out in his memory. “Heart-breaking…”

    Click here to read the rest of the interview…

    Passion in Practice – May 2011 – Acting Shakespeare Workshop

    Passion in Practice is a collaboration between actor Ben Crystal and director Dan Winder exploring fresh approaches to acting Shakespeare.

    The starting point for all our work is the words of the writer. Using a solid textual foundation, we play Shakespeare as simply as possible, without any great conceptual frame placed between participants, audience and the play.

    By allowing Shakespeare and his words to direct us we discover new ways of approaching Shakespeare for the 21st Century with honesty and great passion.

    The next Passion in Practice workshop will be May 16th-20th 2011 in London.

    Please head to for more details.

    Talks this week…

    Giving three talks this week…

    Shakespeare, Language and the Elizabethan Mind, 1pm, Feb 25th, British Library

    Shakespeare & Original Pronunciation, NATE Conference 2011, 4pm, British Library

    Romeo and Juliet Investigate Day, 10am-12.30pm, Feb 26th, Octagon Theatre / Bolton University

    Shakespeare, Language & the Elizabethan Mind – 25th Feb, British Library

    Been looking forward to this for a while. My new talk coming soon to the British Library:

    What would it have been like to go to the theatre in Shakespeare’s time? How did his plays tap into his audience’s views on life and love? How did the social, cultural and political developments of the time shape his writing? Just as the English language was going through great change, so was the city of London. The world was rocked too by the death of Elizabeth, and James’s accession to the English throne.

    Shakespeare’s audience had a tremendous ability to suspend their disbelief, and a great appetite for story-telling; they would have been thrilled by his language play, by the new words he invented and by the semi-familiar worlds he and his actors took them to. His works are revitalised when seen through the eyes and minds of the people he was trying to entertain.

    Actor and author Ben Crystal (Shakespeare’s Words, Shakespeare on Toast) dives into the hearts, minds, ears and words of Shakespeare’s world.

    1-2pm, Friday 25th, The British Library – Shakespeare, Language & the Elizabethan Mind…

    Original Practices Public Forum, 10th Feb, Birkbeck College

    Birkbeck Theatre Conversations presents

    Original Practices?

    How much do we now know about the playhouses of Elizabethan London, and the working practices of the companies who performed in them? How might this inflect the work of today’s directors and performers of Elizabethan drama?

    A public forum with:

    Julian Bowsher, theatre archaeologist, Museum of London

    Professor Tiffany Stern, University College, Oxford, author of Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan and Documents of Performance

    Ben Crystal, actor and writer, author of Shakespeare on Toast and co-author of Shakespeare’s Words

    Daniel Winder, director, Iris Theatre Company

    Chaired by Michael Dobson, Professor of Shakespeare Studies, Birkbeck College

    February 10th, 6.30-8pm, 32 Tavistock Square. Refreshments. All welcome.

    Shakespeare’s Sonnets – British Library – 2nd Feb 2011

    Looking forward to an evening of sonnet exploration at the British Library

    Probably the greatest love poems in English literature, the sonnets introduced to the language such phrases as ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’, ‘the darling buds of May’, and ‘remembrance of things past’. Still fresh and intriguing after 400 years, they express almost every phase and every permutation of love, from the first infatuation to final loss, and are perhaps the most personal of all Shakespeare’s works.

    An evening of appreciation and exploration with award-winning poet Don Paterson, and Shakespearean scholars Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen (co-authors of the RSC Complete Works of William Shakespeare) and actor and writer Ben Crystal.

    Click here for more details…

    November Talks & Events

    Talks & signings this coming month in Warwick, Witney, Plymouth & Paris…

    3rd, 7pmWarwick Books, Lord Leycesters Hospital
    9th — Cokethorpe School, Witney
    16th, 12.30pm – Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
    27th, 6pm — Book signing, Shakespeare & Co, Paris
    28th, 12.15pm — Closing Plenary, TESOL Paris
    29th, 4.30pm — Book signing, The Red Wheelbarrow Bookshop, Paris — Ben Crystal at The Red Wheelbarrow Bookshop

    October 2010 – *News & Upcoming Talks*

    A short break in August, a spell of server crashes & a working trip to New York in September have kept me away from the site, but to keep you updated…

    Sorry, I’m British! co-written with Adam Russ, with illustrations by the legendary Ed McLachlan has just been published by Oneworld… the perfect Christmas gift book, some might say…


    10th, 7.30pm Lichfield Festival
    11th, 1.30pmCheltenham Literature Festival
    13thGlebelands School, Surrey
    14th, 7pm — Wells Literature Festival

    3rd, 7pmWarwick Books, Lord Leycesters Hospital
    9th — Cokethorpe School, Witney
    16th – Lunchtime Talk, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
    28th, 12.15pm — Closing Plenary, TESOL Paris

    Lear, Austria; The Reader’s Organisation, London; Swanwick Writer’s Summer School, Swanwick…

    A tremendous 15 or so days in Styria, Austria, playing Edgar in King Lear, in the courtyard of a Medieval castle. Pictures have been posted on Twitter & Facebook, and will be up here on the Gallery soon…

    A few days after coming back to London, I gave a talk to a group with The Readers Organisation, dedicated to helping bring literature to disadvantaged and homeless members of society. They were off to see The Comedy of Errors at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, and I spoke with the group for an hour or so, introducing them to the play and Shakespeare in general. A kind bit of feedback, from one of the play-goers:

    She was telling several people after the group today how much she had enjoyed the day.  She especially loved the session with Ben and told us how she had been very nervous about going to a Shakespeare play and had been thinking it was a mistake to go.  She said his easy forthright way of talking was very comfortable and his advice to not worry about the words and just enjoy it was fantastic and put her very much at ease.  She said she phoned her father and told him she had been to a Shakespeare play and asked him if he was proud of her….Her excitement was palpable.

    Now to the wonderful folk at The Swanwick Writer’s Summer School for the second year, to give their last night, after-dinner talk…