Shakespeare, Smith Center announce partnership
This move is a significant indicator of the ongoing partnerships between the arts and culture non-profits in Staunton. Beginning July 1, the Smith Center will be home to the Augusta County Historical Society, the Historic Staunton Foundation, the Staunton August Arts Center and the American Shakespeare Center.
Dr. Jim Perkins, president of the Smith Center LLC, said, “The Smith Center for History and Art LLC is thrilled to know that the American Shakespeare Center will be joining our three partner organizations as our new neighbors in this amazing historic building. By joining the Staunton Augusta Art Center, The Staunton Historic Foundation, and the Augusta Historical Society; the American Shakespeare Center is helping to further enhance the value of the Smith Center as a resource for Arts and Culture in the City of Staunton. I look forward to the many possibilities this mutual agreement will generate.”
ASC Managing Director Amy Wratchford said, “The Smith Center is such an important landmark in Staunton. We are thrilled to be now part of that landmark, working alongside these wonderful non-profit companies.”
The R. R. Smith Center, named in honor of long-time state and community leader R. R. “Jake” Smith, is a collaboration of three leading non-profit organizations in the Staunton/Augusta County area of the Shenandoah Valley: Augusta County Historical Society, Historic Staunton Foundation, and the Staunton Augusta Art Center. The center is housed in what was the Eakleton Hotel, a 25,200 square foot building designed in 1893 by noted local architect T. J. Collins. It is located in Staunton’s Beverley Historic District, a National Register district. The Center currently houses exhibit galleries, a lecture hall, classrooms, archival storage, a library and reading room, board and committee meeting space, Museum Store, and offices for the three non-profits. The R. R. Smith Center is the region’s only history and art center.
The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education.
The ASC’s Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, is open year-round for productions of classic plays, which have been hailed by The Washington Post as “shamelessly entertaining” and by The Boston Globe as “phenomenal…bursting with energy.”
Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at www.americanshakespearecenter.com.