Ben Carlson made his acting debut as a child, courtesy of his parents who are both professional actors, but grew up playing the upright bass and planning on being a musician. During his second year of studying classical music and jazz in college, he switched to the study of acting, and was working professionally before he graduated. His background gave him realistic expectations about the difficulties of being a working actor, but also a love of theater. When asked why he made the switch, he replied, "I wanted to speak the words of William Shakespeare."
Carlson's work has been seen primarily in Canada, including more than 20 productions at the Shaw Festival, in such roles as John Tanner in Man and Superman (including Don Juan in Hell), Cusins in Major Barbara, Andrei in Three Sisters, Georg in She Loves Me, Chris Keller in All My Sons, Constantine in The Seagull and the Bishop of Beauvais in Saint Joan, which appeared at CST as part of last season’s World’s Stage series. He made his debut at Stratford this past summer in the title role in Hamlet. He first performed the role here at CST in 2006, for which he received a Jeff Award.