Happy first [full] day of #ASCTC2023! It’s been a busy 48 hours here in Staunton, VA.

Sunday, 32 (THIRTY-TWO!) cool campers arrived in Staunton to embark upon an epic artistic voyage. Over the next three weeks, the campers will rehearse and perform two of The Bard’s biggest, wildest plays: Julius Caesar, directed by ASC Associate Artistic Director Natasia Reinhardt, and Cymbeline, directed by veteran ASCTC director Emily MacLeod. On top of these 90-minute shows (and a number of 10 minute scenes directed by camp staff), campers will take classes in voice, acting, improvisation, clowning and more!

ASC Performance Studies Manager and Camp Director Lia Wallace lead campers on a tour of the beautiful Blackfriars Playhouse.


But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

Yesterday, after move in, campers ventured up the hillsides of Mary Baldwin’s campus on a tour of the facilities. In one of our on-campus rehearsal spaces, they played some get-to-know-you games and got a broad view of their next few weeks. Then, they ventured into downtown Staunton for a visit to the American Shakespeare Center, where their shows will be performed.

Campers heroically managed the (really quite difficult) task of alphabetizing themselves without using words.


After hours of tours, rules, games, snacks, and [spoiler alert] audition prep, it was lights out on a very full first day.

But somehow, they did even more stuff on day 2! Campers started their day with yoga class at 8am, and then hiked up to a filling breakfast on campus. They needed all the energy they could get, because they spent the rest of their morning auditioning for this summer’s productions!

Campers got to cheer each other on through several rounds of audition challenges, including cold reads!


Campers performed 32 fantastic monologues and a couple wonderful group pieces, worked together on some rapid-fire cold readings, and showed off their skills at everything from accents to kazoo-playing.

The directing teams then went to work casting the shows while the campers were treated to their first voice class with the ASC’s amazing resident music director, Summer England. While the residential staff were sweating over copies of Caesar and Cymbeline, the campers learned the basics of vocal science and started to develop some skills for healthy voice production.

Voice class is always a treat, especially when you get to hang out onstage!


Then, the big reveal: cast lists! Campers crowded around the call board trying to decipher a bunch of Roman names in 12-point font, and then took their excitement to a fun dinner with friends. They couldn’t linger at the dining hall too long, however, because there was just too much to do! With only three weeks to put these plays together, we need as much time as we can get. So, the newly cast Cymbelines, Juliuses, Imogens, and Soothsayers trekked back to the Playhouse for their first rehearsal.

Nerves soon gave way to smiles when campers saw their names on the cast lists


Rehearsals were a blast– campers got to experience the stories of Caesar and Cymbeline for the first time by reading the plays out loud. They asked questions, started making choices, and began to get excited for the long/short road ahead.

The cast of Julius Caesar hard at work


Smiles from the cast of Cymbeline


And, after great first rehearsals, it was finally lights out on a huge second day. Keep up with us here on the blog to see what other adventures we get into this summer, and to see our amazing shows come together over the next few weeks!

See you later!

A great start to a #glorioussummer with some Shakespeare superstars!