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British Actor and Producer Ben Crystal to Speak at W&L on Oct. 26 as Part of Shakespeare 2016!

Ben Crystal, British actor and producer, will give the opening lecture as part of Washington and Lee University’s Shakespeare 2016! on Oct. 26 at 5:30 p.m. in Lee Chapel. His talk is free and open to the public, and will be broadcast live online.

He also is the artistic director of London-based Passion in Practice and its Shakespeare Ensemble, which he founded in 2010. Passion in Practice explores fresh approaches to acting Shakespeare.

Crystal’s talk is titled “The Once and Future Shakespeare.” His visit is hosted by W&L’s Department of Theater, Dance and Film.

In his words, he will discuss “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.”

Crystal is an expert in performing Shakespeare in original pronunciation (OP). In March 2015, he consulted with Baltimore Shakespeare on their OP “Merchant of Venice” and created an OP Lab in a three-day workshop and performance with the Shakespeare Society in New York City.

In 2014, he gave the English Council lecture at the British Council on speaking the English of Shakespeare, and in 2012, he was the curator, producer and creative director of the first CD of extracts of Shakespeare in OP for the British Library, their best-selling CD to date. He also played the role of Hamlet in 2011 with the Nevada Repertory Company in the first OP production in 400 years.

Crystal’s recent publications include of “An Illustrated Dictionary of Shakespeare” (2015) and “Springboard Shakespeare” (2013). He also is the co-author of “Shakespeare’s Words” (2002) and “The Shakespeare Miscellany” (2005) with his father, David Crystal, a linguist, editor, writer and lecturer.

With his Shakespeare Ensemble, Crystal collaborated with Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He restaged the Globe Theatre for a staged reading of “Macbeth” in OP in a London loft and prepared a production of “Pericles” in OP in Stockholm.

Shakespeare 2016!, a year-long celebration of William Shakespeare’s legacy, will be observed at the university with an academic year of special events, performances, public lectures and courses.

Other lecturers in addition to Crystal include noted Shakespearean scholars James Shapiro and Katherine Maus and political philosopher Quentin Skinner. Events throughout the year will include theatrical, musical and dance performances. For full details about Shakespeare 2016!, visit http://www.wlu.edu/shakespeare-2016/speakers or contact Hank Dobin at hdobin@wlu.edu.