The Summer 2020 SafeStart Season repertory features an ensemble of actors performing Shakespeare’s beloved comedy of (mis)identity Twelfth Night alongside his tragedy of jealousy and racism, Othello, all while keeping the focus on a carefully developed series of protocols designed to keep actors, staff, and audiences safe in the era of coronavirus.

Whether you join us under the chandeliers of the Blackfriars Playhouse, under the stars on the airy lawn of the Blackburn Inn, or online via live stream events; we’ve kept the lights on just for you!


Scroll down for more info & FAQ


We’ve limited the capacity of our Playhouse to fewer than 125 socially distanced seats, but the experience remains as lively and priceless as ever. 

Join us in the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor stage for two remarkable stories with the assurances of ASC SafeStart including our commitments to: universal masking, contactless ticketing and programs, elimination of concessions, and enhanced hygiene protocols throughout our facilities.




Join ASC’s repertory on our summer field trip to the historic property of  Staunton’s beautiful boutique hotel the Blackburn Inn and Conference Center! The Blackburn Inn is the perfect setting to host ASC’s outdoor performances of Shakespeare in the twilight.

For one low price, up to four members of a household can share your own private Illyria! Each ticket purchases a designated 8×8 foot patch of soft green grass.

  • Each square can hold up to 4 people, or 2 if you choose a lawn chair space.
  • Pre-order a picnic basket (including wine!) with your ticket

Blackburn Visitor FAQ

3. BlkFrs LIVE

ASC, in partnership with Marquee TVwill present two one-night-only pay-per-view digital events LIVE from the beautiful Blackfriars Playhouse!

Bring the Playhouse to your house…

  • Purchase digital tickets via Marquee TV website
  • Can’t make the live stream? Each performance will be available for on-demand purchase for 16 days after its initial live stream!

Get Blkfrs LIVE Tickets


The Summer 2020 SafeStart Season is ASC’s first artistic season after our closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Summer 2020 SafeStart Season harkens back to the can-do early days of our founding as the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express at the same time as it launches us into our future as dual citizens of the digital and physical worlds, all while keeping the focus on a carefully developed series of protocols designed to keep actors, staff, and audiences safe in the era of coronavirus.

This new artistic season will provide 3 ways to see 2 great shows. The repertory will feature an ensemble of actors performing Shakespeare’s beloved comedy of (mis)identity Twelfth Night alongside his tragedy of jealousy and racism, Othello. Both are available to watch socially distanced at the Blackfriars Playhouse (until Oct. 18), outdoors are at the Blackburn Inn and Conference Center (until Sept 27), or online via BlkFrs LIVE on Marquee TV (select dates). 


Click here to learn about our ASC SafeStart Plan.

Or, watch our “Know Before You Go” YouTube videos:



Ethan McSweeny is the Artistic Director of American Shakespeare Center. He joined us in June 2018. You might have seen the productions of The Willard Suitcases or Julius Caesar that he directed! As a part of our Summer 2020 SafeStart Season, he directed Othello. If you’re interested, you can read his full bio here. 

BlkFrs LIVE is the “live stream” arm of our BlkFrsTV online theatre platform. ASC, in partnership with Marquee TV, will present two pay-per-view digital events live from the beautiful Blackfriars Playhouse! These will be synchronous, one-night-only events that can be enjoyed from anywhere in the world via a computer, laptop, or tablet.

Gather the entire family for a viewing party & get ready for an incredible collective experience from the comfort of your couch!

We are also creating BlkFrs LIVE content for educators. Click here for info. 

ASC is excited to partner with Marquee TV on our BlkFrs LIVE offerings. Marquee TV is a UK-based multi-genre performing arts streaming service that caters to arts-oriented audiences hungry for content that is underserved via other digital media outlets.

The live stream presentations of Othello and Twelfth Night will appear on Marquee TV’s website – NOT ASC’s website. Tickets also need to be purchased via Marquee TV. Click here to buy tickets on Marquee TV. 

You need to go to our BlkFrs LIVE listing on the Marquee TV website and select the title of your choosing. Tickets are $19.99; you only need one ticket per household.  

Still have questions? Take a look at Marquee TV’s FAQ.

Want to attend an in-person performance? You will need to purchase tickets through American Shakespeare Center directly.

Yes, these live streams are online only. You will not be able to watch on your TV unless you use an HDMI cord to connect a computer to it.

Our service is similar to when you purchase a movie on-demand on your computer, except that these are one-time-only, synchronous events. So, we have borrowed a phrase from live cable TV events to explain what we mean. 

Othello and Twelfth Night will be available for on-demand purchase on Marquee TV for 16 days after their respective live stream. That means Twelfth Night will be available through September 6 and Othello will be available through September 13. 

BlkFrsTV on-demand viewing options for Othello and Twelfth Night will become available later this fall. More information will be announced soon; fans are encouraged to stay up-to-date with news on the company’s website and social media or by signing up for ASC’s email communication.

We want to meet everyone at their comfort level with attending performances during the coronavirus pandemic, so we have made it possible to see our 2 great shows in 3 different ways. We have 2 -in-person venues: through September 27, we are hosting live performances both indoors at the Blackfriars Playhouse and outdoors on the lawn of the Blackburn Inn and Conference Center. Performances will continue at the Blackfriars Playhouse through October 18.

For more information about attending a performance at the Blackburn Inn, click here.
For more information about safety measures in place at the Playhouse, click here. 

ASC’s Twelfth Night, directed by Dan Hasse, is Shakespeare’s romantic comedy of (mis)identity in a fast-paced, no intermission romp starring an ASC dream team of Zoe Speas and Mia Wurgaft as Viola/Sebastian (determined by nightly coin-toss), Constance Swain as Olivia, Brandon Carter as Orsino, Michael Manocchio as the persnickety steward Malvolio, and Chris Johnston as the musical clown Feste.
Visit the Event Info page to learn more. 

In ASC’s Othello, directed by Artistic Director Ethan McSweeny, Evil is everywhere in Shakespeare’s great tragedy of racism and jealousy, as the love of Othello and Desdemona is destroyed by envy and fact is twisted by innuendo. ASC favorite Jessika Williams takes on the title role with veteran actor-manager John Harrell as the scheming Iago.
Visit the Event Info page to learn more. 

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