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Ben Whishaw

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Benjamin John “Ben” Whishaw (born 14 October 1980) is an English actor who trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Whishaw is perhaps best known for his breakthrough role as Hamlet, and his role as the lead character in Tom Tykwer’s film Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.

Whishaw was born and raised in Bedfordshire, the son of Linda, who works in cosmetics, and Josey Whishaw, who works in information technology. He has a twin brother, James, and was a member of the Bancroft Players Youth Theatre at Hitchin’s Queen Mother Theatre. He attended Henlow Middle School and then Samuel Whitbread Community College in Clifton, Bedfordshire. During his time with the group, he first rose to prominence during collaborations with their offshoot theatre company, Big Spirit. He was involved in many productions – perhaps most notably, If This Is A Man (also performed as The Drowned & The Saved). This was a piece devised by the company based on the book of the same name by Primo Levi, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. This harrowing and moving book was adapted into a physical theatre piece by the group and taken to the 1995 Edinburgh Festival where it garnered five-star reviews and great critical acclaim. Whishaw played the character of Levi in this and subsequent productions of the show.

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