Ben Crick reaches the final of BBC’s Off By Heart Shakespeare competition

Ben Crick, 15, is in the final of BBC's Off By Heart Shakespeare competition
Ben Crick, 15, is in the final of BBC's Off By Heart Shakespeare competition
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A YOUNG actor is preparing to take the stage in the final of a national Shakespeare competition.

Ben Crick, 15, of Primrose Way, Stamford, is one of 12 regional winners of the BBC’s Off By Heart Shakespeare competition.

The Stamford School pupil was among 250 entrants in his heat which was held in Birmingham.

His recitation of Shylock’s “To bait fish withal” from The Merchant of Venice impressed the judges and he will now go on to the national final in Stratford-upon-Avon on January 29.

Ben said: “I am over the moon, I couldn’t quite believe it. I’m really excited about the final and am getting the scripts through in a couple of days.”

Ben will receive coaching and mentoring from the Royal Shakespeare Company to help develop his performance and understanding of Shakespeare.

Should he win the final he will be crowned Schools Shakespeare Champion and will be awarded the Off by Heart Shakespeare Cup, as well as £500 in book tokens for his school.

All the finalists will 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.

Head of drama at Stamford School, Anneke Davies, said: “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.”

Ben has previously appeared in Shakespeare productions at school and at Tolethorpe open-air theatre. He also played the lead role in the National Youth Theatre production of SLICK.