You believe in the American Shakespeare Center. You have experienced the joys of Shakespeare’s plays staged as the playwright imagined, with actors and audience in the same light together. You have witnessed Shakespeare come alive for people of every age and background. You have seen high school students sobbing at the death of Cyrano; little kids perched on gallant stools, gleefully clutching Bob Cratchit’s cape in A Christmas Carol; or your own friends and family, riveted by Hamlet’s climactic duel.
This spring, as we ask that you consider investing in these unique experiences (click here to do that right now!), we wanted to share the words of one of our newest donors. Shawn’s testimony illuminates the power of Shakespeare, ASC-style:
In August 2014, my long-time friend brought me to the ASC. I’d lived in Charlottesville for seven years, and had heard of Shakespeare in Staunton, but I didn’t think it was for me –I’m not a scholar, and Shakespeare was confusing, daunting.
We saw The Comedy of Errors, and it was just wonderful. Amazing. Funny, sweet, moving – and I understood everything that was happening! I devoured the program and couldn’t wait for the next show. I’ve been smitten ever since – not just with the theatre, but with the playhouse, the actors, the people around me. The ASC is like a local pub, a familiar and welcoming place. I love sitting in the audience before the show, listening to the music, hearing the buzz, surrounded by people who are both excited and relaxed. There’s so much value in that sense of community.
Life is difficult. My kids are older and I work two jobs, and it’s been a struggle. But at ASC, I’m inspired not just by the characters and the stories, but by the impossibility of it all – the impossible triumphs, the impossibility of me even being there to experience it. Me, in this beautiful place, this Elizabethan theatre, with this whole company of people fully alive, who love what they do – who would’ve thought it? And in Staunton, of all places! I tell you, it just lifts me up.
When I went to The Comedy of Errors that night back in August, I didn’t have any expectations. But now I do: I expect that I’m going to be transported to another place. I expect that I will learn something I didn’t know before. I expect that I will come out invigorated, inspired, and a little changed.
I come to the ASC to feel alive. It makes me think all things are possible, even for me. And in those moments in my life when I think my dreams are not possible, the ASC reminds me that all dreams are.
Shawn gave us permission to share her beautiful words in the hopes that you, too, might continue your investment. Your support will provide even more exhilarating, life affirming experiences for 70,000+ kids, students, teachers, and audience members. With your help, we will continue to make Shakespeare come alive for years to come.
Ralph Alan Cohen Jim Warren
Co-Founder & Director of Mission Co-Founder & Artistic Director
Any questions, please contact ASC's Development Manager Danielle Hoffman at 540.885.5588 ext. 16.
John Harrell as Dromio of Syracuse, Gregory Jon Phelps as Antipholus of Syracuse, and Allison Glenzer as Adriana in THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. Photo by Lindsey Walters.
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