Go Back to the Future

Welcome to the Actors’ Renaissance Season. We raise the stakes by embracing the spirit of Early Modern rehearsal conditions. Actors lead the charge in directing the shows, choosing the costumes, and mounting five plays with limited rehearsals.

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Lauren Ballard, Allie Babich, and Shunté Lofton. Photo by Michael Bailey.

Spring Season

The Wicked Folly Tour returns to the Blackfriars Playhouse a well-oiled machine, shining with tales of life's beauty, humor, and pain.

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The cast of TAMING OF THE SHREW. Photo by Tommy Thompson.

Hamlet

By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Sponsored by BO and SANDI ROSE

Hamlet struggles to discern reality from illusion in the rotten state of Denmark as he copes with the loss of his father, his mother's remarriage, and life's biggest questions. For centuries, audiences have seen themselves in the remarkable, troubled prince at the center of this ghost story, comedy, seven-murder revenge thriller, and philosopher's gold mine.

January 19 - April 7
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josh innerst hamlet american shakespeare center

Richard II

By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Sponsored by JOHN BROADBENT

Shakespeare's magnificent exploration of the lives and deaths of England's kings is one of his crowning linguistic achievements. Pitting Richard II, a man of words, against Bullingbrook, a man of action, Shakespeare raises the art of language to new heights, while reminding us that rulers "feel want, taste grief, and need friends." ASC veteran Sarah Fallon wears (and gives away) the crown as Richard.

January 20 - April 7
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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

By TOM STOPPARD

From the Oscar winner who gave us Shakespeare in Love, this wickedly funny companion piece to Hamlet turns Shakespeare inside out and shows the Dane's story from the point of view of Hamlet's school chums. Tom Stoppard serves up a feast of wordplay, wit, and slapstick while exploring the timeless questions about identity, illusion, and toe-nail growing.

February 8 - April 8
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john harrell and chris johnston rosencrantz and guildenstern are dead american shakespeare center

The Way of the World

By WILLIAM CONGREVE

Sponsored by AARON and CANDICE HARK

Brimming with sharp and elegant wit, The Way of the World, which critics largely consider the greatest of the Restoration comedies, pits a pair of lovers against a host of manipulative characters, including the underhanded (and unhappily-aging) Lady Wishfort, and the villainous Fainall. Rife with satire, this scathing comedy uncovers the over-the-top, and inner-workings of the idle upper-class.

March 1 - April 6
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shunte lofton the way of the world american shakespeare center

Antonio's Revenge

By JOHN MARSTON

Antonio's Revenge proves that happily-ever-afters don't always remain so. Breaking from his supposed reformation, the evil Duke Piero resolves again to destroy the relationship of his daughter, Mellida, and her future husband, Antonio - by any means necessary. Writing around the same time as Hamlet, Marston echoes (or foreshadows) Shakespeare's great work with themes of familial betrayal, hauntings, and existential questions that rock us to the core.

March 21 - April 5
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Sense and Sensibility

By JANE AUSTEN

Adapted by EMMA WHIPDAY with BRIAN McMAHON

Directed by STEPHANIE HOLLADAY EARL

Sponsored by DR. RICHARD SMITH

After their father dies, the Dashwood women must learn to embrace a new life, for better or for worse. Sisters Marianne (a hopeless romantic) and Elinor (a stoic realist) experience the pitfalls of society, the generosity of new friends, and the passion of unexpected love in this world-premiere adaptation of Jane Austen's exquisite early work. By battling through vicious gossip, relative poverty, and silly characters (not to mention countless set-ups by the "helpful" Mrs. Jennings), these sisters learn the importance of both sense and sensibility.

April 11 - June 9
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sense and sensibility jane austen spring season blackfriars playhouse

Macbeth

By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Directed by BENJAMIN CURNS

Sponsored by AARON AND CANDICE HARK

From the first words of the play until the title character loses his head, Shakespeare's shortest tragedy is also his most unrelenting examination of the dark side of humanity. Driven to bloody deeds by their lust for power and supernatural predictions, Macbeth and his Lady fight to hold on to their ill-gotten throne, their sanity, and each other by any means necessary.

April 12 - June 9
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The Taming of the Shrew

By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Directed by JEMMA ELIX LEVY

Sponsored by DR. PRESTON AND JANE MANNING

This hilarious comedy is much more than a "battle of the sexes"; it is also a profound look at the necessity of "play" in our lives. This production includes Shakespeare's "Induction," which presents the Kate and Petruchio story as a play within the play. Blending romantic comedy and outlandish farce, Shakespeare gives us a love story of psychological liberation and they mysteries of being married.

April 13 - June 10
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Equivocation

By BILL CAIN

Directed by VANESSA MOROSCO

Sponsored by KEVIN AND DIANE WILSHERE

Equivocation is "the use of ambiguous language to conceal the truth or to avoid committing oneself" - and Equivocation is exactly that. Robert Cecil, Secretary of State to James I, commissions the unwilling playwright William Shagspeare to write a history of the Gunpowder Plot, the failed assassination of King James. Shag takes on this controversial play and uncovers a murderous conspiracy so scandalous even he couldn't have written it.

April 25 - June 8
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Plan Your Trip to ASC:

News: ASC Kicks Off New Year with HAMLET and RICHARD II

The annual Actors' Renaissance Season begins performances on January 19. The Actors’ Renaissance Season is the ASC’s experiment into what Elizabethan and Jacobean rehearsal conditions might have been and features a troupe of veteran ASC actors who design the productions and conduct rehearsals without a formal director.

Upcoming Lectures: "Dr. Ralph Presents" and "Inside Plays"

Take your experience beyond the performance with a free pre-show lecture. Led by Co-Founder Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen and our award-winning education team, these pre-show experiences fundamentally change the way you watch the play.

Invest in Imagination

Your steadfast support is powerful – it gives us the opportunity to soar in the present and to imagine an ambitious future for the American Shakespeare Center community. When you donate to our annual fund, you invest in more than great entertainment – you become part of ASC’s legacy. Your contribution helps us recover the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity, turning imagination into reality for all of us.

Bring the ASC to your community

Is there a venue in your community that you'd like to see us visit? ASC on Tour brings the excitement of Shakespeare's Staging Conditions across the east coast, south, and midwest. Now booking the 2018/19 Hand of Time Tour

In Their Own Words: Actors Reflect on the Actors' Renaissance Season

When we come in, there’s not the fear of messing up in front of somebody. When you have a director there, it’s like “okay, now I have to prove to them that I am what they were hoping for with this part.” But with our case, you just have to make a choice and a bold choice and go with it.

We've expanded our local rush pricing!

Residents of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County can now take advantage of $18 tickets midweek. There are plenty of other ways to save on tickets too!