The 2021 Blackfriars Conference has been cancelled.

Registrants can begin the refund process via this form.

The full statement is below.


September 29, 2021

Dear friends and colleagues,

A mere month ago, we wrote to inform you of our switch to a virtual conference. It is with a heavy heart that we email you today to announce that as part of an organization-wide reset, we are hitting pause and cancelling the 2021 Blackfriars Conference in its entirety.

Of course, the constant changes demanded in response to Covid-19 have already undermined plans for this year’s conference. Like so many other theatres—and communities of every kind—we are seeing clearly how race and gender factor into our dealings with each other, and how, perhaps without knowing or meaning to, we have hurt each other, ourselves, our art, and even our scholarship. We are hitting pause on all of our live programming in order to attend to ASC’s infrastructure in a way that nurtures and values our people and provides them with a healthy and vibrant artistic and academic home. That process must also include engagement in an ongoing conversation to address serious, longstanding inequities relating to diversity and inclusion that exist in our nation, community, and organization.

We have not made this decision lightly, and we regret how this inconsistency may reflect on us or alter your perception of us. While this news may be disappointing in the short term, we must look to the long term with honesty about our past, humility in our present, and hope for our future. We hope to welcome you back when we have earned back your trust and participation, and we invite you to join us in excited anticipation of what the Blackfriars Conference — and the American Shakespeare Center — can and will become going forward.

If you have already paid for your conference participation, you will be receiving a second email from with refund instructions. You can also click here to start your refund directly.

With determination,
Aubrey Whitlock & Lia Wallace

As one of our most valued communities, we want our patrons’ voices to be heard. Use the link below to email ASC with any questions or call us at 540.885.5588.