Ryan J-W Smith is a multiple award-winning verse playwright and celebrated poet. To date he has written 6 verse plays, 5 short films and over 1600 Shakespearean sonnets. Smith is the world’s most prolific Shakespearean sonneteer – a title he holds by a considerable and ever-growing margin as he continues to write.
Smith’s unique verse plays, Sweet Love Adieu, The Power Play, Love Labours Won, New World Order, The Bard Gets Hard! and MacDeth! have garnered widespread international accolades including 4 Hollywood Fringe awards, 3 further Hollywood Fringe award nominations, 2 Arts Council England grant awards, 1 Amnesty International award nomination, and multiple 4 and 5-star reviews from ciritcs.
Career highlights include: produced by Smith’s own Rogue Shakespeare Company, his third play, Love Labours Won, wowed huge audiences and professional critics alike for two years running in 2006/7 at the world’s largest theatre festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and was awarded ‘Pick of the Fringe’ both years. In 2008, Smith’s fourth play, New World Order, a one-man show performed and directed by Smith himself, also gathered nothing but glowing reviews internationally, and was nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. In 2012, Smith’s short film, The Poet Cursed, written in rhyming iambic verse, premiered in the Short Film Corner at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, was an official selection at 7 other international film festivals.
In 2015, after a break from theatre, Smith revived his Love Labours Won directing and starring in a sell-out run at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Smith was awarded the coveted International Award and an Encore Producers’ Award. In 2016, Smith returned triumphantly to the Hollywood Fringe writing, directing and starring in two new verse comedies – The Bard Gets Hard! and MacDeth! Both shows played to sold-out houses and received glowing audience and critic reviews. The Bard Gets Hard! was nominated for the International Award – it lost to MacDeth! which won the highly coveted International Award for best international show, along with another Encore Producers’ Award for Smith. MacDeth! was also nominated for the Comedy Award and, among numerous other tributes, was named one of Time Out’s ‘Shows to See’ of the festival.
Smith’s on-going commitment to write a highly personal, diary-like, Shakespearean sonnet almost every day has already written him into the history books as the world’s most prolific Shakespearean sonneteer – having written over 1,600 Shakespearean sonnets. The first 500 of his sonnets were published in 2012 in a “literary landmark” (Watkins Magazine) volume entitled 500 Shakespearean Sonnets: the Diary of a Poetic Quest for Truth, that has received nothing but unanimous praise and adulation from stunned critics and readers alike.
Ryan J-W Smith receiving the 2015 Hollywood Fringe International Award – an award he has won twice now in 2015 and 2016
Collectively, Smith’s films have received 25 international film festival wins, nominations or selections. Ryan writes (and directs and stars in) the forthcoming feature, 2plus2makes4, which also stars Emmy and Golden Globe winner Ed Asner, Tony-nominated Daniel Sunjata, Professor Noam Chomsky and the late and legendary Emmy-nominated Gore Vidal.
LOVE LABOURS WON
Smith's multiple award-winning 3rd verse play
"a damned good romp"
"his writing is amazing - Smith is one to watch"
"brilliantly pacy, well-balance and intriguing with plenty of belly laughs...
Bravo Ryan!"The Dewsbury Reporter
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Love Labours Won
Smith's multiple award-winning 3rd verse play, Love Labours Won is available in paperback for just £6.99 inc. postage in the UK
"undoubtedly the best Shakespearean comedy not written by Shakespeare. This is unmissable."
"To describe it as a brand new Shakespeare play is to sell it short"
"a corker of a production!"
UK Theatre Network
"a mesmerizing work from a young writer whose career we should follow very closely"
"far better than anything that came out of Stratford"
"A thrill hearing Smith's verse... the old forms still hold up under new hands"
"Your preference between Shakespeare and Smith may surprise you"
NEW WORLD ORDER
Smith’s fourth verse play
“This is certainly not a lightweight, fluffy piece of theatre”
“one piece which is really essential to see is Ryan J-W Smith’s New World Order”
“sharply scripted…an admirable feat”
British Theatre Guide
“Smith has written an incredible play here”
“Fringe acclaimed Smith returns with a Machiavellian lecture in metered verse”
“the writing in verse is very good indeed“
“powerful, terrifying and vital”
“Few performances I’ve seen have been as gripping, touching and perceptive as New World Order… It’s rare to find a one-man show that’s engaging, entertaining and insightful… Transitions between the three characters are so smooth it’s easy to forget there is only one person on stage. Smith’s conviction is overwhelming and enlightening, generating critical thought on the state of things today.”
Sweet Love Adieu
Smith’s first verse play
“Farcical, bawdy…a treat!”
“Definitely Shakespeare for a modern audience”
UK Theatre Network
“Methinks it’s a treat!”
“The Bard meets Goldsmith meets Black Adder!”
British Theatre Guide
“There IS culture…highly accomplished…
this play’s a comic delight!”
St. Albans Observer
“The brilliant wit of Ryan J-W Smith“
Smith also writes for film. Highlights of Smith’s film growing writing accolades: