Bring the magic of Shakespeare’s staging conditions to your venue.
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.
Presenters can choose from three different plays, which are performed in true rotating repertory by 11 professional actors. The Tour uses the same approach seen at the Blackfriars Playhouse (the world’s only recreation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre) in Staunton, Virginia – audience on three sides, universal lighting, beautiful costumes, actors often playing more than one role in a show, and live unplugged music. Rather than spinning tales with an elaborate set and electronic wizardry, ASC on Tour delivers remarkable performances through expert acting and a focus on the language like Shakespeare’s company did.
Whether your space is a black box, proscenium or thrust stage, or an open area, the ASC can transform it into a Renaissance playhouse in less than three hours.
Doors open 30 minutes before the play begins. During this time and while the audience arrives, live music is performed by the actors. The running time is typically two hours and 15 minutes, not including the intermission or musical pre-show. The total time of all events is approximately three hours. We do not offer shortened versions of our performances.
Music plays a big part in our shows. In addition to the music sprinkled throughout the shows, our actors perform 30 minutes of live, unplugged music before the show starts and again during intermission: classic rock, Top 40 hits, original songs, and more. The result is emblematic of our approach: a commitment to Shakespeare’s text and to the mission of connecting that text to modern audiences.
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, 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.
We offer Study Guides for many of Shakespeare’s plays; we provide an eBook at no extra charge to each Presenter who books a performance (print editions are available for purchase in our online gift shop).
Our Approach and mission
Our mission is to recover the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language and humanity. ASC on Tour strives to be a beacon for all to feel more alive through the experience of Shakespeare performance and education, changing lives one encounter at a time.
troupe information and technical requirements
Our touring troupe consists of 11 actors, a tour manager, and an assistant tour manager who travel in two passenger vans and a box truck. They typically arrive the day before a performance, set up that evening, and depart the morning after the last show. Professional, efficient, and with few technical needs, the Tour’s set-up and tear-down takes less than three hours each.
The items in the truck include costumes, musical instruments, props, and our portable set, which replicates the back wall of our Blackfriars Playhouse, including two doors, a curtain, and a balcony.
- The set is 17 ft. 4 in. wide x 16 ft. high x 8 ft. deep. It is possible to set it against the rear wall to allow for maximum playing area in front. There must be enough open height from the stage floor to the ceiling or light fixtures to accommodate the set’s 16 ft. 6 in. clearance.
- In its deconstructed state, the set is able to pass through any normal-sized door.
- For a proscenium, the TOTAL minimum space needed is 33 ft. wide x 35 ft. deep. For a thrust stage, black box, open space, or arena the TOTAL minimum space needed is 25 ft. wide x 35 ft. deep. Some exceptions may apply.
- The troupe handles the load-in, set-up, tear-down, and load-out; four to six helpers are requested.
- A minimum of six hours exclusive access to the performing space is needed prior to the start of any performance.
- The troupe must be allowed to load in and set up the night before a morning performance.
- Universal lighting is used throughout the performance – a general wash on stage and the house lights stay on.
- The troupe will bring along pipe and drape to create/mask the backstage if needed.
- Our actors generally do not use microphones; however, on-site sound reinforcement may be needed at 1000+ seat venues.
- Private restrooms and changing areas are required.
- A technical director needs to be on-site during load-in and on call during our residency.