Hollywood actor Sir Ben Kingsley is worried students are no longer interested in the works of William Shakespeare because they do not get the chance to see his plays performed.

The Gandhi star insists more needs to be done by education bosses to stimulate pupils' interest in Shakespeare's plays in a bid to benefit the next generation of actors.

The Oscar winner, who was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (Rsc) for 15 years, tells the London Evening Standard, "I think we must be very, very careful not to relegate Shakespeare to the past and dismiss him as obsolete... After leaving the Rsc and before I did Gandhi, I had the privilege of visiting schools in America with a group of Shakespearean actors.

"And instead of bashing their way through the text, we walked into the classroom and we performed scenes in the classroom for them. The pupils were slapping their hands on their foreheads and saying, 'Wow, that's what he meant!'

"A good actor, a focused actor, can unlock a 400 to 500-year old text and make it hit you as you've never heard it before. A short answer to the question of whether we need to do more to stimulate the interest of children is 'Yes please', but let it be done under the right conditions."