Citizens of Staunton and Classical Theatre of Harlem artistic director to receive awards

STAUNTON, VA—The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) commemorates three decades of Shakespeare by honoring Classical Theatre of Harlem Artistic Director Ty Jones and the Citizens of Staunton, Virginia at its 30th Anniversary Gala on Saturday, September 22 at the Blackfriars Playhouse and Stonewall Jackson Hotel. The celebration will include a diverse array of ASC artists ranging from members of the original Shenandoah Shakespeare Express touring company to recent ASC Theatre Camp students.

Ty Jones will receive the Burbage Award which annually honors a person whose career has significantly advanced the love of Shakespeare’s work through the public production of his plays. Bolstered by artistic vision, a sense of civic duty, and strong business acumen, Ty Jones created a new Shakespeare tradition for Harlem. For the past six years, Uptown Shakespeare in the Park has welcomed growing crowds topping 15,000 to Marcus Garvey Park for free, world-class productions of classic plays as seen through the lens of the African American diaspora. Ty is an award-winning actor, playwright, and screenwriter with credits off and on Broadway and in television and film including appearing on Broadway in Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington, as Agent Donovan on Power (Starz Network), and in Ava Duvernay’s upcoming series Central Park Five.

“Ty and I first worked together nearly 20 years ago and I have been so thrilled to watch as he has used his artistry to contribute to to the transformation of the classical theatre landscape in Harlem, in New York City, and in the country,” says artistic director Ethan McSweeny. “As a friend and colleague I couldn’t be more excited that he is the recipient of the first Burbage Award of my tenure as Artistic Director.”

The annual Goodfellow Award, honoring a person whose contributions to the ASC have been fundamental to its mission, will be presented to the Citizens of Staunton. Mayor Carolyn Dull will accept the award on their behalf. “The Citizens of Staunton first invited us to make a home in downtown Staunton and the whole citizenry has continued to be instrumental to the success of the Blackfriars Playhouse,” says ASC co-founder Ralph Alan Cohen. “Staunton has made a home for Shakespeare and American Shakespeare Center wants to say thank you as we reach our 30th year of programming.”

The celebration begins with a performance at the Blackfriars Playhouse at 6:30pm on Saturday, 9/22. Dinner and dancing will follow at the SJH. A Sunday brunch discussion will feature artistic director Ethan McSweeny and Burbage Award recipient Ty Jones at 9:30 am at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel.

The 30th Anniversary Gala is sponsored by the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. Single tickets are $275. Table sponsorships are $2,750 and include seating for eight guests and two ASC artists. Dress is cocktail attire. A Saturday afternoon welcome toast and Sunday morning breakfast are included with the ticket purchase.

Learn more