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Direct from the Blackfriars Playhouse, the American Shakespeare Center on Tour delivers seriously fun Shakespeare to audiences at performing arts centers, universities, and selective high schools throughout the U.S.  Since 1988, ASC on Tour has entertained audiences each year by offering three plays performed in repertory by the same troupe of actors.  From single-day events to week-long interactive residencies, ASC on Tour has earned its reputation as one of America’s most respected touring theatre groups.

ASC on Tour invites audiences to enjoy shows that are produced as Shakespeare’s company performed them – surrounded by audience members who share the same light with the actors, each of whom play multiple roles.  This highly interactive style allows ASC on Tour to forge a sense of community between performers and audience rarely found in theatre today and enables audiences to understand and enjoy these classic works.

Whether you’re looking for a single performance or a portable festival, ASC on Tour promises “shamelessly entertaining” shows at great value.

Yearly touring schedule:
Mid-september through mid-november

Middle Atlantic, Northeast, New England

Mid-January through early april

South, Midwest, Middle Atlantic

Current Tour: Wicked Folly Tour

macbeth william shakespeare spring season blackfriars playhouse

From the first words of the play until the title character loses his head, Shakespeare's shortest tragedy is also his most unrelenting examination of the dark side of humanity. Driven to bloody deeds by their lust for power and supernatural predictions, Macbeth and his Lady fight to hold on to their ill-gotten throne, their sanity, and each other by any means necessary.

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taming of the shrew william shakespeare spring season blackfriars playhouse

This hilarious comedy is much more than a "battle of the sexes"; it is also a profound look at the necessity of "play" in our lives. This production includes Shakespeare's "Induction," which presents the Kate and Petruchio story as a play within the play. Blending romantic comedy and outlandish farce, Shakespeare gives us a love story of psychological liberation and they mysteries of being married.

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sense and sensibility jane austen spring season blackfriars playhouse

After their father dies, the Dashwood women must learn to embrace a new life, for better or for worse. Sisters Marianne (a hopeless romantic) and Elinor (a stoic realist) experience the pitfalls of society, the generosity of new friends, and the passion of unexpected love in this world-premiere adaptation of Jane Austen's exquisite early work. By battling through vicious gossip, relative poverty, and silly characters (not to mention countless set-ups by the "helpful" Mrs. Jennings), these sisters learn the importance of both sense and sensibility.

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Wicked Folly Workshops

The American Shakespeare Center includes education as a fundamental part of our mission. ASC on Tour not only takes our artistic programming across the country, our troupe members are also educators, spreading the ASC’s methods of performance-based learning to new communities.

We offer more than a dozen one-hour workshops covering a wide variety of topics such as rhetoric and verse, staging conditions, and stage combat. These workshops offer participants an exciting, hands-on learning experience in an intimate setting. Workshops are interactive and are limited to 30 participants. We also offer a “TalkBack” option which is a Q&A session held after a performance.

Full Workshop Menu

Tour specific workshops:

The American Shakespeare Center had the privilege of working on the world premiere of Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility written by Emma Whipday. One of the most wondrous things about the process of working on this piece was getting the opportunity to work with Ms. Whipday in the rehearsal hall. In celebration of this collaborative effort, the participants will get the opportunity to concoct their own adaptation. This workshop enables participants to become playwrights as they take a brief selection from the novel and form it into their own dialogue. After performing their creations, the actors will perform Emma Whipday’s dialogue, so that the participants are able to compare their dialogue to that of the professional playwright, who took the same selection and adapted it for the ASC. With the writing and performance skills utilized throughout this workshop, the adapting text workshop is perfect for both English and Drama classes.

The workshop introduces students to the creation of special effects for the Early Modern stage using basic tools with limited technology. It also introduces the ideas behind why these special effects were used and what makes them effective both for an Early Modern audience and for theatregoers today. Looking specifically at Macbeth, the participants will watch scenes that explain the six elements utilized to create the early modern special effects. These six things include text, actors, stage, props, sound, and imagination. This is an interdisciplinary workshop suitable for all ages.

When it came to memorizing dialogue, early modern actors did not receive complete copies of the play in which they were performing. Instead, players were presented only with their individual parts in the shape of cue scripts. These personalized scripts contained only one character’s complete lines, along with each line’s “cue,” a mere two or three words of the preceding speech. It was based on these last few words that an actor had to learn when to deliver his lines, a challenging exercise which required a good amount of mental dexterity. This workshop explores the fun and confusion involved with utilizing cue scripts, just as the ASC actors use in the Renaissance season. Participants will get to use a cue script from a scene from The Taming of the Shrew. This workshop also provides a taste of hand-to-hand combat as the participants learn to safely pull on another participant’s hair. This is an interdisciplinary workshop suitable for all ages and classrooms.

This rhetoric-based workshop explores Shakespeare’s wordplay and clever wit through modern rap lyrics. By using both Renaissance and modern examples, this workshop illustrates that the rhetorical strategies utilized in Shakespeare’s day are timeless wordplay forms that modern society is used to hearing in music. This workshop is applicable for both literature and theatre classes and is suited for all ages.