Leadership Consortium Partnerships offer universities an unparalleled level of Shakespeare study on-campus and at the Blackfriars Playhouse.

Staunton, VA – American Shakespeare Center announces the re-launch of its Academic Consortium with two charter members at the Leadership level: Washington and Lee University; and Sewanee, the University of the South. The Leadership Consortium level takes ASC consortium partnerships one step further by bringing the company’s national tour to the universities, as well as hosting the university students and scholars at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton.

“The study of Shakespeare in performance has been a cornerstone of American Shakespeare Center since its inception,” said Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen, Co-Founder and Director of Mission for the ASC. “The Leadership Consortium takes ASC’s integration of page and stage to a whole new level, making ASC’s unique Blackfriars Playhouse a virtual part of our partner school’s campus and curriculum.”

Building on the company’s 2016 academic consortium concept where members have an institutional stake in ASC’s work via a pledge to engage with educational opportunities, the new Leadership Consortium members make a three-year commitment that includes hosting ASC on Tour performances, onsite workshops led by actors in residency at the university each year, attending the ASC’s biennial Blackfriars Conference, and partaking in exclusive program offerings at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia.

“By bringing ASC on Tour to their campus through the Leadership Consortium, members enhance their curriculum, serve their faculties, engage their student bodies, connect to their communities, and energize their alumni and donors,” said Sarah Enloe, Director of Education for the American Shakespeare Center. “We are delighted to have found the best possible inaugural members of the Leadership Consortium in Washington and Lee and Sewanee, University of the South; their commitment to liberal arts curricula and their grasp of the instructional value American Shakespeare Center programming can bring to a wide array of constituents across the university–from business schools, to teacher training, to–of course–their Shakespeare classes will serve as a model to future Leadership Consortium members.”

The University of the South, familiarly known as Sewanee, comprises a nationally recognized College of Arts and Sciences and a distinguished School of Theology. Located on 13,000 acres in Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, Sewanee enrolls 1,700 undergraduates and approximately 170 seminarians. Over its history, Sewanee has become a meeting place for some of America’s most respected literary figures. It is home to the Sewanee Writers Conference, the Sewanee Review (the nation’s longest continuously published literary quarterly), and holds the copyrights to Tennessee Williams’ body of work, which was left to the school by the playwright. For more information about the University of the South, visit www.sewanee.edu.

Founded in 1749, Washington and Lee University is named for two men who played pivotal roles in the University’s history: George Washington, whose generous endowment of $20,000 in 1796 helped the fledgling school (then known as Liberty Hall Academy) survive, and Robert E. Lee, who provided innovative educational leadership during his transformational tenure as president of Washington College from 1865 to 1870. The ninth oldest institution of higher education in America, Washington and Lee is composed of two undergraduate divisions, the College and the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics; and a graduate School of Law. Offering 37 undergraduate majors and 30 minors, including a number of interdisciplinary programs, the University prides itself on the depth and breadth of curriculum, in which traditional liberal arts courses are augmented by offerings from the only fully-accredited business school and fully-accredited journalism program among the nation’s top-tier liberal arts colleges.
The Spring Season: Tour Homecoming destination weekend May 17 – 19 welcomes all consortium members to Staunton, where Sewanee and W&L will be formally inducted as charter members into the new Leadership paradigm.

The American Shakespeare Center recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. Year-round in Staunton’s Blackfriars Playhouse — the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre — the ASC’s innovative programming and “shamelessly entertaining” (The Washington Post) productions have shared the delights of Shakespeare, modern classics and new plays with millions over the past 30 years. Beyond the Playhouse, the ASC is a hub for Shakespeare education and scholarship and also tours from Texas to Maine each year with a repertory of three plays. Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at www.americanshakespearecenter.com and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. ASC programming is sponsored in part by the Ambrose Monell Foundation, the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, the National Endowment for the Arts: ArtWorks and Shakespeare in American Communities in partnership with Arts MidWest; The Shubert Foundation, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the generosity of countless donors.

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