The English-Speaking Union and the British Council partnered to present the third English Language Council Lecture, which celebrates Shakespeare and the English language. The lecture, with Ben Crystal, marked the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare. February 2014, London.

Video 1 - Sonnet 18

The British Council and the English-Speaking Union welcomed Ben Crystal as part of the English Language Council lecture series. The lecture marked the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare.

The guardian of English poetry, the inventor of over 1,000 words still in use today, and one of the greatest players with our language, Shakespeare has given us a treasure trove of English to read - funny how so much of it doesn't make sense until it's spoken out-loud.

Actor and author Ben Crystal explores the accent, the theatrical conventions, and the world of Shakespeare, to reveal a bright and beautiful English.

Who is Ben Crystal?

Ben Crystal is an actor, producer, and writer. He studied English Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University before training at Drama Studio London. He has worked in TV, film and theatre, at the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe, London, and has been a narrator for RNIB Talking Books, Channel 4 and the BBC.

He co-wrote Shakespeare’s Words (Penguin 2002) and The Shakespeare Miscellany (Penguin 2005) with his father David Crystal, and his first solo book, Shakespeare on Toast – Getting a Taste for the Bard (Icon 2008) was shortlisted for the 2010 Educational Writer of the Year Award.

His productions of Simon Stephens' One Minute in 2008 and Robin French's Gilbert is Dead in 2009 were critically acclaimed.

In 2011, he played Hamlet in the first Original Pronunciation production of the play for 400 years with the Nevada Repertory Company.

In 2012 he was the curator for the first CD of extracts of Shakespeare recorded by professional actors in Original Pronunciation for the British Library, their best-selling CD to date, and his new series for Arden Shakespeare / Bloomsbury - Springboard Shakespeare was published in June 2013.