The following page outlines some of the mitigation steps American Shakespeare Center is taking to keep all of us safe for your next visit to a live performance. 

All activity will move forward in accordance with regulations from the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, and the CDC. A team of SafeStart Advisors including medical experts from Augusta Health, Staunton City officials, and community leaders have reviewed and approved this plan.

This page contains information specifically for Blackfriars Playhouse audience members – both what ASC is doing to keep you safe as well as what we ask of you as a member of our community.

For more information about the ASC SafeStart plan, including how we are keeping our acting company and staff safe, please see the Details section below or contact us.

The success of these protocols DEPENDS on each of us deciding to value the health and safety of the person next to us. This plan was written with faith in THE strength OF OUR ASC community as an underlying condition.


  • All staff, volunteers AND patrons will wear a mask covering their mouth and nose at all times inside the Blackfriars Playhouse.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please do not attend a performance.

If you cannot attend a performance due to illness, we are offering a flexible rescheduling and refund policy. Please get in touch with our Box Office! (E-mail, or call1.877.MUCH.ADO)


OVERVIEW: What’s Changed?

Your experience at the Blackfriars Playhouse will look different than it has in the past. In particular:

  1. Universal Masking: All patrons, staff, and volunteers will wear masks at all times. This helps keep our acting company safe and is in-line with performance industry standards! 
  2. We are reducing seating capacity by over 50% and overall building capacity by 70%. This season there will be no Gallant Stools, no one seated in the front row, and seats will be spaced apart. 
  3. We will be using ticket scanners and digital tickets to avoid passing paper tickets back and forth. Ticket scanning will be outside.
  4. There will be digital programs in place of paper programs.
  5. We will not accept cash transactions for Gift Shop or ticket sales.
  6. There will be no concessions for sale this season. 
  7. You’ll see free-standing hand sanitizer stations throughout the Playhouse.
  8. All areas in the Blackfriars Playhouse will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis. High touch areas will be cleaned more frequently, in line with CDC, VDH, and Commonwealth of VA guidelines.


The Blackfriars Playhouse will remain a home for world-class Shakespeare performed in repertory by a single company of actors. Our dedication to Shakespeare’s performance conditions has not changed.

Our embrace of early-modern theatre approaches like repertory casting, performing without elaborate scenery in shared light, and our emphasis on the power of the actor, the word, the hand-made, and the acoustic all contribute to ASC being uniquely suited to safely adapt to the variety of conditions presented by this challenging new era.

  1. Make sure you have your mask on when you arrive at the Playhouse. Your mask is part of your ticket; if you don’t have your ticket, we cannot admit you.
  2. Ticket scanning will be outside.
  3. Sidewalk markers will be spaced six feet apart while you wait for entry.
  4. ASC staff (in masks) will scan your digital or print-at-home ticket. Ticketing will be contact-less and there will be no paper tickets.
  5. Remember to use one of the many hand sanitizer stations throughout the Playhouse on your way to your seat!

Venue information for 2021 can be found here.

Our actors are the only people who cannot do their jobs while wearing a mask at a safe social distance. (Romeo can’t kiss Juliet from 6 feet away!)

You wearing your mask helps keep them safe. Please wear it at all times. Your mask is part of your ticket; if you don’t have your ticket, we cannot admit you. (Psst– we will have ASC-branded Shakespeare masks on sale!)

During the show, please stay in your assigned seating area and follow all directions give by ASC staff members. We have carefully planned traffic patterns throughout the Playhouse to keep all members of the ASC community safe!

A version of the ASC SafeStart plan is available on our website.
Click here.

Contact us!

ASC SafeStart is an evolving process. We want to hear questions & concerns from our community. Please get in touch!

The plans are designed to make it safe for our actors, our staff, and our audiences to create and experience live theatre again, as well as share the community connection inherent in ASC productions.

Useful Links and Information

Virginia Department of Health

If you’re feeling sick or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the sooner you act the better. Start with these resources from the BDH to help protect yourself, your family, and your friends as we all work to stop the spread.

How 'Phantom of the Opera' Survived

This musical's world tour remained the only major show running during the Covid-19 pandemic. ASC has learned a lot from their model of weathering the storm.

5 Rules to Live By During a Pandemic

"There’s no playbook for living through a pandemic, so we decided to create one. With some basic rules to guide you, everyone can lower risk and live a full life while we wait for the virus to get under control." - from The New York Times