American Shakespeare Center

Staunton, VA
American Shakespeare Center logo

The American Shakespeare Center was founded in 1988 as a professional traveling troupe named Shenandoah Shakespeare Express. In 1999, the company settled in Staunton, Virginia to create an energetic hub of theater, scholarship, and education. They adopted their current name in 2005 which better reflects their mission to recover the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare's theater, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage, and its practices through performance and education. The company is home to a resident and traveling troupe, distinctive education programs, and the Blackfriars Playhouse, a re-creation of Shakespeare's original Blackfriars. Annually, The American Shakespeare Center produces a rotating repertoire of 14-15 plays that runs for 52 weeks a year in their 300-seat Blackfriars Playhouse. Their traveling troupe is on the road for five to six months out of the year performing in over twenty states. Through the use of universal lighting, minimal sets, a brisk pace, and a deep attention to the language, the company creates a connection and relationship with the audience.

As part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, The American Shakespeare Center will offer student matinees at the Blackfriars playhouse of Othello, The Taming of the Shrew, The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, and As You like It free of charge to underserved schools . Activities will include a post-performance with the education staff and actors, online study guides, and podcasts. The study guide is play specific and contains a historical perspective and engaging activities to get students on their feet to think about the details of the performance and the choices Shakespeare's staging conditions present.