Build confidence and expand creativity with the ultimate team sport: Theatre.

Offered in partnership with City of Staunton Parks and Recreation.

With Shakespeare’s text as our touchstone and his technology as our laboratory, the Drama Club meets once a week in 12-week terms to explore Shakespeare’s wordcraft and stagecraft through play, building confidence and expanding creativity by working together to craft and rehearse a final performance of Shakespearean scenes at the Blackfriars Playhouse.Included in the cost of the Drama Club is a $15 ticket for each participant to join the group on a field trip to the Blackfriars Playhouse. Drama Club members will also be invited to attend other (optional) performances with the group at a special rate.

Learning outcomes

Drama Club introduces participants to the vocabulary of theatre, generally (things like “blocking” and “stage right/left”) as well as Shakespeare’s language, specifically (why do they talk like that?).

Participants gain all the benefits of theatrical training: greater collaborative skills, enhanced creative and critical thinking, increased awareness of physicality and movement, personal responsibility, and group camaraderie (to name a few). Specifically, they learn how to work together to put on a play and gain valuable performance experience in doing so. Making theatre isn’t just about memorizing lines and writing down blocking: it’s about knowing when to lead and how to follow, listening actively and responding genuinely, taking care of yourself and your teammates, and working together on a project that will always be greater than the sum of its parts.

Participants also gain an advanced, early understanding of Shakespeare—hopefully before they encounter his plays in an academic environment. The objective of Drama Club is to foster a lifelong love of theatre in general and Shakespeare in particular. Available evidence suggests early exposure (before the onset of “Shakesfear” in high school) to be the best way to achieve that objective.

Drama Club meets weekly at the Nelson Street Center (900 Nelson Street, at the corner of Liberty and Nelson streets) in downtown Staunton, VA.

Drama Club meets on Sundays from 1-3PM beginning January 20, 2019 and ending on April 21, 2019.

Drama Club is open to budding thespians ages 8-12.

Enroll in Drama Club through Staunton Parks & Recreation Department.

Enroll Now

Drama Club enrollment costs $115 per participant and includes 12 weeks of club meetings and a ticket to a performance of Henry IV, Part 1 at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse.


Syllabus subject to change.


January 20–April 28, 2019 | 1:00-3:00PM


Engage families who’ve never had a reason to come to the Playhouse before; cultivate future audience members (and campers!); inoculate students against Shakesfear before they’re exposed to the virus; deepen our relationship with and commitment to serve the community of Staunton



January 20 | Welcome
  • Warmups, Diagnostics, Mindfulness, Games
January 27 | Intro to Shakespeare: Page 1 (Prose)
  • Rhetoric (repeated, rearranged, compared, missing, added)
  • Paraphrasing game
February 3 | Intro to Shakespeare: Page 2 (Verse)
  • Sonnets
  • Iambic bodies
  • Rhyming
February 10 | Intro to Shakespeare: Page 3 (Staging)
  • Embedded Stage Directions
February 17 | Intro to Shakespeare: Stage 1 (Character)
  • Making choices based in the text
    • Physical
    • Vocal
    • relationships/status
February 24 | FIELD TRIP to Blackfriars Playhouse for The Merry Wives of Windsor
March 3 | Intro to Shakespeare: Stage 2 (Auditions)
March 10 | Intro to Shakespeare: Stage 3 (Production)
  • Distribute parts
  • Read-through
  • Begin character work
  • Production roles
March 10 | Rehearsal
March 24 | Rehearsal
March 31 | Rehearsal
April 7 | FIELD TRIP to Blackfriars Playhouse for Henry IV, Part I
April 14 | Dress Rehearsal
April 21| no club on easter
April 28 | Performance at Shakespeare’s Birthday Party