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The World’s a Stage for Talented Ben

Y10 pupil Ben CrickBen Crick, a Y10 pupil at Stamford School, has progressed through to the national final of the BBC’s ‘Off by Heart Shakespeare’ competition after winning the regional final.

Ben represented Stamford School among 250 entrants at the regional heats in Birmingham. Here, students had to recite a speech they had learnt to a small judging panel, made up of professionals from the world of Shakespeare and theatre. Ben chose to recite Shylock’s “To bait fish withal” from ‘The Merchant of Venice.’ Contestants also joined a workshop designed to help them understand and enjoy Shakespeare’s language through performance-based games and techniques.

As a heat winner, Ben now joins eleven other regional winners in the national final. The finalists will receive expert coaching and mentoring from the Royal Shakespeare Company, to help them develop their performance and understanding of Shakespeare, before competing in a televised grand finale, held in January in Stratford-upon-Avon; the home of the Bard. The winner will be crowned ‘Schools Shakespeare Champion’ and will be awarded the ‘Off by Heart Shakespeare Cup,’ as well as £500 in book tokens for their school. The finalists will also be filmed in the lead up to the final for a documentary which will be shown as part of the BBC’s Shakespeare Season in April 2012. 

No stranger to the work of Shakespeare, Ben previously starred as ‘Snout’ in last year’s school production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and was in the supporting cast of the Stamford Shakespeare Company’s production of ‘The Winter’s Tale’ at Tolethorpe open-air theatre over summer 2011. In September Ben also played the lead role in the National Youth Theatre production of ‘SLICK’ in Sheffield. As well as studying for his GCSEs, Ben is currently busy rehearsing for his role as ‘Thenardier’ in the Stamford Endowed Schools’ production of ‘Les Misérables,’ which is showing in March 2012.

Anneke Davies, Head of Drama, commented “This is a really fantastic achievement for Ben and he can be extremely proud to get this far. We are all excited for the final and to have the BBC cameras come to school to film Ben soon.”