Located in Staunton, Virginia, the American Shakespeare Center aims to bring the joy of Shakespeare’s Early Renaissance theatre to the modern age. Visitors can expect a wide variety of performances and interactive educational experiences year-round at the American Shakespeare Center.
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The American Shakespeare Center opened the Blackfriars Playhouse in September 2001 and it is still the only re-creation of Shakespeare indoor Globe Theatre in the world. The American Shakespeare Center had many years of hard work and performance before the opening of the Blackfriars theater.
The original performance group was founded in 1988 and opened their first show at a small Presbyterian Church. Throughout the years that followed, the name of the group evolved, and they continued to perform at various festivals around the country.
Eventually, they founded their own theater and since then have hosted many guest scholars, performers and conferences. The ASC has recently celebrated its 30-year anniversary as a company and 16-years of residence in the Blackfriars Playhouse.
There are plenty more events and productions for the ASC in the future.
The following plays are a part of the current season which runs from January 19 – April 8, 2018. There are a variety of special events and activities held after this series of renaissance-era performances including the ability to pay what you can for play previews and openings, talks with the cast and crew after Thursday shows, special workshops and lectures for each play, and on April there will be a special benefit concert wrapping up the season.
Hamlet: This classic play is based on the character, Hamlet and his inability to discern illusion from reality as he copes with tragic life changes. Visitors are sure to be delighted by this story which is filled with humor, tragedy, thrills and chills. This show is open from January 19 – April 7, 2018. Performance dates and times vary, be sure to check the ASC calendar for more information as well as tickets.
Richard II: This classic rendition of English King’s is one of Shakespeare’s most popular. It features stunning language and unforgettable moments. This show is open from January 20 – April 7, 2018. Performance dates and times vary, be sure to check the ASC calendar for more information as well as tickets.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead: Although not written by Shakespeare himself, this piece is brought to us by the brilliant writer of the classic “Shakespeare in Love”. The story features Dane from Hamlet and his point-of-view of the story. It is witty, fun, and filled with slapstick comedy. This show is open from February 8 – April 8, 2018. Performance dates and times vary, be sure to check the ASC calendar for more information as well as tickets.
The Way of the World: This comedy features two of the most manipulative lovers to ever grace the stage. This show is filled with satire, and over-the-top comedy which is sure to tickle any visitor’s funny bone. This show is open from March 1 – April 6, 2018. Performance dates and times vary, be sure to check the ASC calendar for more information as well as tickets.
Antonio’s Revenge: This show features the story of Antonio, his wife, Mellida, and his ever-manipulative and obsessive father-in-law, Duke Piero. Although not written by Shakespeare, this piece eludes to some of his greatest themes of betrayal, familial issues, and existential questions of life and love. This show is open from March 21 – April 5, 2018. Performance dates and times vary, be sure to check the ASC calendar for more information as well as tickets.
Education & Programs:
There are a wide variety of opportunities for community members to get involved at the ASC. There is an ASC Theatre Camp, seminars for both teachers and students, and even the Blackfriars conference. There are also tours of the playhouse for visitors of all ages upon request.
Entertainers, scholars, and educators come from around the world each year to experience the Blackfriars conference. The next upcoming conference will be October 22-27, 2019. For more information on how to attend the world-renowned conference, visit the ASC website.
American Shakespeare Center, Blackfriars Playhouse,10 S. Market Street, Staunton, VA 24401, Phone: 540-885-5588