Spectacle and Mirth and students from the Shenandoah Governor’s School, Shenandoah University, and Stuart Hall present holiday staged reading event at the Blackfriars Playhouse

The American Shakespeare Center Education Department is set to take audiences through the ages at the Holiday Season Staged Reading. The American Shakespeare Center Staged Reading Series is an opportunity for theatre companies and education groups to experiment with rarely-performed plays in the Blackfriars Playhouse.

The Holiday Season Staged Reading begins Sunday evening with a medieval mummers’ pageant, produced by students from the Shenandoah Governor’s School, under the direction of Cassy Maxton-Whitacre. Audiences will then be transported to the 14th Century with a reading of a play from the York Mystery Cycle, a collection based on biblical texts and apocryphal stories, produced by Shut Up! It’s Shakespeare, a student performance group from Shenandoah University. Ben Johnson’s Christmas masque from the 17th Century follows, performed by local performance collective Spectacle and Mirth, under the leadership of Carmel Clavin. Finally, students from Stuart Hall, under the direction of Jeremy West, will present a Victorian-style pantomime featuring familiar figures such as Ebeneezer Scrooge and Sherlock Holmes. Each of the four productions will last between ten and thirty minutes, with music, dance, and seasonal merriment.

“The Holiday Season Staged Reading is a chance for us to explore how theatre has tied in to festive celebrations for centuries,” says Cass Morris, ASC Academic Resource Manager. “The theatre has always been a space to bring people together, and we’re thrilled to open up the Blackfriars Playhouse stage to four wildly different performance groups for this special occasion.”

The Holiday Season Stage Reading takes place Sunday, December 4 at 7:30pm in the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse. The performance is pay-what-you-will with a suggested donation of $5. Visit www.AmericanShakespeareCenter.com or call the box office at 1.877.MUCH.ADO for more information.