Welcome to Our 2021 Summer Season
We’ve Missed You
When, at the beginning of Henry V, the Chorus – on behalf of the actors – asks the audience to use their “imaginary forces” to “piece out our imperfections,” Shakespeare is giving away the secret of theatre: actors need an audience to make their magic. At the ASC we’ve always known that (we leave the lights on so you can work with us), but after this pandemic year we feel it stronger than ever. We’ve missed you.
To celebrate your return, this summer season offers three plays — Macbeth, Henry V,andAll’s Well that End’s Well;three genres – a tragedy, a history, and a comedy; and two venues: one inside and one outside: the Blackfriars Playhouse, our world-famous recreation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, and the intimate garden of Rose Terrace, which houses the Shakespeare and Performance graduate program in our partnership with Mary Baldwin University.
There where “the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto your gentle senses,” you’ll find “a pleasant seat” and use your imaginary forces to help the witches meet with Macbeth. Shakespeare’s “Scottish play” about simultaneously looks at such big subjects as ambition, the nature of evil, free will, and time, while it gives us – rare in Shakespeare – the domestic story of a marriage.
In June join us in Staunton’s jewel of a theatre, the Blackfriars, and with your imaginary forces help us “cram within our Wooden O” the story of the King Henry V, who presided over England’s most famous battle in its victory over the French at Agincourt. Shakespeare turns the historical facts of that triumph into a complex human portrait of kingship; a look at war from the perspectives of the powerful and the poor, the victors and the losers, the leaders and the led; and, surprisingly, a look at love from the bottom to the top. All of that generously sprinkled with humor.
Then, the first week of August, we add to our repertory All’s Well That Ends Well and invite you and your imaginary forces to France again for the final of Shakespeare’s mature comedies, a Cinderella story with more than a dash of bitters. Here you’ll meet Helena, one of his strongest heroines, who uses her brains and her courage to try to win the man of her dreams against all odds. The playwright, showing us that “the web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together,” fills the play with wit, foolery, and wisdom.
Welcome back to the ASC’s theatre of imagination. We need you to help us do that magic.
Ralph Alan Cohen
American Shakespeare Center illuminates the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, classic and new, refreshing the individual, fostering civil discourse, and creating community in the Blackfriars Playhouse and beyond.
We began in 1988 when Jim Warren and Ralph Alan Cohen formed the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, a traveling troupe that used Shakespeare’s staging conditions to perform his plays. By 2000, we had performed in 47 states, one U.S. territory, and six foreign countries. Partnering with the City of Staunton and aided by private donors and generous help from Augusta County and the Commonwealth of Virginia, we built the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor playhouse in 2001. With one troupe at home and one on the road, we expanded our educational offerings and created America’s first MFA program in Shakespeare and Performance at Mary Baldwin University. We also established an international biennial conference for scholars, and we became the American Shakespeare Center. In 2009, to honor our achievement of turning Staunton into a world Shakespeare destination, the Commonwealth recognized us with the Governor’s Arts Award. By our 30th year, in 2018, we had played to nearly two million people, produced all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays (many of them more than twice), 36 plays by his contemporaries, and a grand total of 286 different productions in 5,506 performances.
ASC is dedicated to providing a safe environment for all patrons and ASC employees. Details on our SafeStart plan can be found here. We ask that all patrons wear a mask at all times at both of our Summer 2021 venues, maintain social distancing, and reschedule their visit if they are feeling ill.
The world’s only recreation of Shakespeare’s Indoor Theatre
ASC Gift Shop
ASC GIft Shop
From T-Shirts to Cookie Cutters—the gift shop has something from everyone. Check out the new Actors’ Renaissance Summer inventory!
Shop from your seat, select pick up at checkout, and your order will be ready for you when you leave!
Doubling Grid (Downloadable PDF)
From Education Series to Special Events—make the most of your experience with ASC!
2021 Donors and Partnerships
With the generous support of our donors the American Shakespeare Center continues to recover the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity.
THE AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGES THE GENEROUS CONTRIBUTIONS OF ITS CURRENT SEASON SUPPORTERS:
*all bolded names are patrons who gave consecutively over 5 years
Amanda Bennett & Donald Graham
Ted Deming & Roz Ridgway
Candice & Aaron Hark
Chris & Betsy Little
Bruce & Sarah H. McWilliams
Kathy & Bernie Campbell
Jim & Shirley Gillespie
Paul G. Beers
Ralph & Judy Cohen
William A & Carole H Schmidt
Seth & Sharon Stark
Carol & Ken Adelman
Patrick & Allison Baroco
John Broadbent & Marjorie Deutsch
James & Esther Cavanaugh
Mr & Mrs. Stanley S. Hazen
David & Donna Ladd
Davidson A. Perry-Miller
Joan Saxton, MD
Julia Griffin in memory of Lawrence Weiss
Find a full list of our supporters here.
Institutional Sponsors and corporate matching gifts
2021 Corporate matching gifts
2021 Institutional Sponsors
The Ambrose Monell Foundation
City of Staunton
National Endowment for the Arts
The Patterson Foundation
The Shubert Foundation, Inc.
Staunton Downtown Development Association
The Theodore H. Barth Foundation
The Tony Randall Foundation
Virginia Commission for the Arts
2021 Lodging Partners