Summer 2020 will see ASC return to its roots, producing, much as Shakespeare’s company did, a single, versatile troupe of actors performing in repertory both at our Blackfriars Playhouse home and around the region, including outdoors in an exciting new partnership with our friends at the Blackburn Inn.

It sounds pretty amazing. But how did we get here?

Luckily, to book-end the chapters in our story, ASC Artistic Director Ethan McSweeny wrote two honest open letters to our community. And, theatre journalist at The Washington Post Peter Marks has been chronicling the steps in ASC’s closure and recovery since March 2020.

Together, these articles and letters document the arc of a micropoliton classical theatre surviving and thriving in the time of the novel coronavirus.  We’ve placed them all here for you to read & understand just exactly how American Shakespeare Center made it to our Summer 2020 SafeStart Season.


March 16, 2020

“We’LL SEE YOU AT THE PLAYHOUSE,”
ASC ANNOUNCES BUSINESS CHANGES DUE TO COVID-19
BY ETHAN MCSWEENY

“We do what performing arts organizations do throughout America: we build community…And as a nation we need community right now, perhaps more than any time in the last 50 years…We usually sign off with a cheery ‘we’ll see you at the Playhouse.’  This time that salutation is perhaps a little more hopeful, a little less certain, and a little more significant.”

READ NOW


MARCH 17, 2020

“The virus is already pushing small theaters to the brink. One Shakespeare theater hopes it can make it back.”
The Washington Post

“Suddenly, a virus barely touching a bucolic slice of the Shenandoah Valley amounted to a potential theatrical extinction event…”

READ NOW

David Anthony Lewis, Constance Swain, Renea Brown, and Brandon Carter in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, 2020. Photo by Lindsey Walters.

APRIL 23, 2020

“To survive, this Shakespeare troupe is offering online classes and videos. Are branded masks next?”

The Washington Post

“What does a theater company do when it can’t do what it was created for?
Anything it can think of.” 

READ NOW


June 5, 2020

A LETTER FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: ASC SAFESTART
BY ETHAN MCSWEENY

“Into this big experience, enter a small but determined theatre in the Shenandoah Valley. A place that believes and affirms that words are important, that all people are valued, and that art is a central pillar of community…
ASC invites you to begin again.

I’ll see you at the Playhouse, no matter what form that takes.”

READ NOW


ASC ANNOUNCES
THE SUMMER 2020 SAFESTART INITIATIVE
ON JUNE 12, 2020

JULY 8, 2020

“Once more unto the breach: Shakespeare returns to the Shenandoah Valley”
— The Washington Post

“What American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va., is doing would have been considered unremarkable a few short months ago. Now, to some people, it will seem unthinkable.

It is putting on a big play. On a stage. For an audience. In person.”

READ NOW

Dan Hasse watches Zoe Speas and Michael Manocchio rehearse, masked, for the Summer 2020 SafeStart Season. Photo by Ben Steinhauer.

And that’s where we are now.

More to come soon.

Stay tuned.