American Shakespeare Center

Mission

The American Shakespeare Center’s mission is to recover the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. 

About the American Shakespeare Center

The American Shakespeare Center – through its performances, Playhouse, and educational programs – seeks to make Shakespeare, the joys of theatre and language, and the communal experience of the Renaissance stage accessible to all. By striving to re-create Shakespeare’s staging conditions, the ASC brings back the relationship between audiences and actors available to Shakespeare’s audience. For over 25 years we’ve done it on the road – touring to colleges, high schools, and performing arts centers all over the U.S. and to five other countries – and for the last 15 years, we’ve done it on the road and in our home theatre in Staunton, Virginia. 

About the Blackfriar's Playhouse

In 2000, at the invitation of Staunton citizens and with the support of the City Council and state and private donations, we set about building the world’s only re-creation of the Blackfriars Playhouse. As no reliable records of that theatre are known, architect Tom McLaughlin based the design on plans for other 17th-century theatres, surviving halls of the period, Shakespeare’s stage directions, consultation with theatre scholars, and the research on the Blackfriars of the late theatre historian Irwin Smith. 

Our aim is to cement our position as a national resource for the enjoyment and study of Shakespeare and make Staunton Shakespeare’s American Home by building the 1614 Globe Theatre and research center within walking distance of the Blackfriars Playhouse.

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What we get is exquisite mayhem and barely bridled brilliance, leaving us intellectually stimulated and our sides hurting more than a little.
— Shakespearances.com