Gabriel Chanan

Author of books for adults, Scriptwriter

Available for:
After dinner speaking


Contact: 07533 958805

MBE for services to community development, 2009

Adults, 14-16 (Key stage 4), 11-16 (Key stages 3 and 4), 6th Form and college


Shakespeare and his contemporaries, drama, literature, politics and social issues are my central concerns. I publish books and articles and give talks and workshops about these from different angles.

My 2015 book Shakespeare and Democracy (Troubador) shows how issues that concern us now, like equality, gender, race and especially the accountability of rulers are all illuminated by Shakespeare today but from unfamiliar angles.

The book and talks are very accessible, whether or not you are familiar with Shakespeare's plays. I use a special device I call a 'kingometer' to explain concisely the relation between all the monarchs Shakespeare wrote about and those of his own time.

I also use key excerpts from plays and, where suitable, invite audiences to 'act' or recite parts with me to bring them to life. This technique has led on to a complete show of extracts from several plays linked by a theme, 'Shakespeare's Dreams and Nightmares' (see my website). Arising from this I offer workshops on interpreting and acting Shakespeare.

Talks focus on Shakespeare's politics and treatment of social issues, stagecraft and acting, language, and/or historical context according to the priorities of the host and audience. They are participative wherever possible.

How to strengthen community life in today's world is the second main issue that I have written and spoken about. In 2016 I am publishing a handbook of guidance to health agencies on how to strengthen the local community element in health (Commissioning Community Development for Health, Health Empowerment Leverage Project). I draw on substantial experience of community development, including research, practice and government policy-making. The focus of my talks in this field is both practical and theoretical: how community activity works, why it is important in holding society together, and above all how to guage and strengthen community activity in a given locality, and finally how to evaluate impact and embed support for these actions in policy.  

The style of these talks and workshops is participative, drawing on the experience and local situation of participants, whether as community members or staff of social agencies.

I'm an experienced, lively public speaker, good at engaging with audiences rather than 'talking at' them. Based in East Berkshire, with London easily accessible, I'm happy to travel within the UK and Europe, subject to suitable timing and cost arrangements.

Shakespeare and Democracy (isbn:978-1-78462-424-8)
Abundantly illustrated by the plays, this highly accessible discussion traces Shakespeare’s politics through critical turning points and shows how we can relate him to the politics of our time.
Rethinking Community Practice (isbn:978-1-44730-009-0)
How to develop a strategy for creative ways for local public agencies and local neighbourhood communities to work together to maintain and improve the conditions of life
The Community Development Challenge (isbn:978 1 85112 872 3)
A high point (2006) of government-backed strategy for strengthening local communities - since deflected by political shifts - a vision that needs to be recovered and built upon) when it was a high priority
View in Amazon
Measures of Community (isbn:1-901974-57-X)
A far-reaching review for government of how community life (not phantom 'communities') can be measured, with distillation of a small number of fundamental indicators.
Community Involvement in Urban Regeneration (isbn:92-827-9787-2)
A review for the EU of local community involvement, with comparision of a substantial case study from each of twelve of the member countries
Other search criteria:

Business, Law and Politics, Stage and Screen

Book Type:
Non fiction for adults, Fiction for adults, Educational books

Shakespeare, Drama, Theatre, Politics, Elizabethan, Tudors, History, Democracy, Community, Community Development, Voluntary Sector, Social Policy, Literature, Drama, Acting, Directing