Shakespeare Sonnets & Speeches by John Austin

  • About the Artist

    John Austin is an award-winning, classically trained actor. He’s excited to be part of Arena Stage’s innovative Artists Marketplace! At Arena, he originated the role of “Derril Lark” in the world-premiere of Right to Be Forgotten and the role of “Valentin” in the world-premiere of Kleptocracy. Elsewhere in the D.C. area, John performed at Round House Theatre in Oslo; Signature Theatre in the world-premiere of Easy Women Smoking Loose Cigarettes; Olney Theatre Center with National Players in: OthelloAlice in Wonderland, and The Great Gatsby; as well as Constellation Theatre in Melancholy Play, which won the Helen Award for Outstanding Production (HHA). Originally from Austin, Texas, John originated the role of “Young Zeus” in Zeus in Therapy (Tutto Theatre Company), for which he won the B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Young Performer. He holds a BFA in Acting, Summa Cum Laude, from Boston University, and a Certificate in Classical Acting from L.A.M.D.A. The Bette Davis Foundation awarded John the Bette Davis Prize, for excellence in the acting profession. Website:

  • Shakespeare Sonnets & Speeches

    Have you ever experienced an actor “speak the speech” directly to you? Now’s your chance! Submit your favorite Shakespeare sonnet or speech; John will record it in the style of direct address—straight into the camera— speaking to you (and whomever else gathers around the screen)! From “To Be or Not to Be” to “All the World’s a Stage,” receive Shakespeare’s timeless text personally and hear it as if for the first time. You’ll get to keep the video file, and can send it on to your friends and family! 

    John will record a “.mp4” video of the requested text(s) and will send the video file to the email address provided by the patron. The recording will be sent within 2 weeks for sonnets and speeches, 3 weeks for extended speeches, and 4 weeks for epic speeches.

    When purchasing, please provide your e-mail and specify the lines of blank verse to be recorded (i.e. “To Be or Not to Be”: Hamlet Act 3, Scene 1, Lines 56 – 89). 

    Due to the importance of diversity in casting and as a matter of social justice in theatre, please consider John’s colleagues of different races and genders when submitting speeches for him to record. He reserves the right to decline performing certain texts based on matters of representation, such as a soliloquy for Othello. In the event that this occurs in a transaction, he will specify this reason for declining to perform said speech, and will respectfully ask that you select another speech. Thank you for understanding.

    Please note that some speeches may be altered in presentational style (such as a crowd address) by the direct address format.


    Sonnet (14 Lines of Blank Verse): $25
    Speech (10 - 20 LBV): $30
    Extended Speech (21 - 50 LBV): $60
    Epic Speech (51+ LBV): $100

    Examples for reference:
    -“Tomorrow and tomorrow…” = 10 LBV = Speech
    -“To Be or Not to Be…” = 35 LBV = Extended Speech 
    -“Friends, Romans…” = 135 LBV = Epic Speech 



    extended speech

    epic sPEECH

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