American Shakespeare Center adds National Tour production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to streaming platform
American Shakespeare Center announced today the addition of Midsummer 90 to their newly established streaming platform, BlkFrsTV. The National Tour company’s family-friendly, intermission-less adaptation of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, has been charming audiences from Maine to Texas to Minnesota, and can now be streamed direct to a home or virtual classroom.
“The initial response to BlkFrsTV and the quality of the productions we’ve captured has been incredible,” says ASC Artistic Director Ethan McSweeny, “Especially when you consider that we filmed seven productions in five days while facing a shut-down, and, while most of our staff is on furlough, created a digital streaming distribution network — basically from scratch.”
Not resting on any laurels, ASC has continued to innovate in the digital arena and, with the release of Midsummer 90, is highlighting a newly available suite of education resources and options for distance learning that puts students of all ages in virtual seats at the Blackfriars Playhouse.
The new digitized educational content — available at BlkFrsTV: Education Resources — includes access to the company’s celebrated, play-specific Study Guides, a free virtual tour of the Blackfriars Playhouse, and registration for 3-day, 4-class Virtual SHXcademy courses hosted live from the Playhouse stage. This content is designed to help parents and teachers create their own home curriculum or virtual classroom, while other materials from the ASC Education department archive remain available for professional educators.
“We wanted to meet the need of educators of all sorts: professionals creating new digital curriculums as well as parents confronting sudden-onset homeschooling,” continues McSweeny, “This series of digital learning initiatives can be used in a variety of settings, making programs ASC has developed over the last two decades accessible to all. We are finding new ways to package our education materials with the shows that are up and running on BlkFrs TV.”
These tools allow educators and parents to expand the experience of watching a show on BlkFrs TV in three ways:
- The BlkFrsTV: Education Resources Page contains links to free content, such as activities from ASC’s play-specific Study Guides, a free digital tour of the historical Blackfriars Playhouse, excerpts from ASC co-founder Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen’s approachable guide to teaching Shakespeare: Shakesfear and How To Cure It, and podcasts from Dr. Ralph’s lectures and conversations recorded at the Playhouse. Visit the page here.
- The Virtual SHXcademy: Each weekend in April, dive deep into one of the plays streaming on BlkFrsTV with a 4-class series of workshops facilitated live from the Blackfriars Playhouse by ASC educators and artists — all for one flat price per household, including the link to stream the show at home. Learn more here.
- The Digital Classroom: Educators (middle school through college) can have their students play with Shakespeare’s text from far away! For a small fee per student, a member of ASC’s Education Team can take over the educator’s classroom with one of their acclaimed workshops on a variety of topics. Educators should also ask about opportunities to stream performances from BlkFrs TV for all their students at one low price. To book a digital workshop or get an educational streaming link, educators should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“What we can do,” says ASC Director of Education Sarah Enloe, “is support families and learning in this difficult time. We want to enliven students’ interest and deepen their understanding of complex texts while creating a center of learning in the home that is low stress — and fun.”
ASC’s complete Actors’ Renaissance Season is now available for streaming, but only until April 19. Digital tickets include access to the performance for one week. Midsummer 90 was added to the line-up today. More streaming titles will be available soon.