American Shakespeare Center announces its 30th anniversary artistic year plans

american shakespeare centerThe American Shakespeare Center announced its 2018/19 Artistic Year at an announcement party following a performance of Hamlet last Saturday night at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. The Artistic Year runs June 2018 through June 2019 at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton and across the eastern half of the United States with the 2018/19 Hand of Time Tour.

The line-up will include 15 productions presented over 12 months in four separate repertory seasons. This year will include the world premiere of two new plays written for the Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries Project.

The ASC stages its productions in the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre. The company believes Shakespeare’s stagecraft is as important as his wordcraft and has developed a modern performance style based on the way it is thought that Shakespeare’s company performed plays at the original Globe and Blackfriars Playhouses in Renaissance London – an approach that the Washington Post’s Peter Marks calls “both serious-minded and exuberant.”

Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries

Officially launched in April of 2017, the Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries Project will put two new plays on stage at the Blackfriars Playhouse in the Actors’ Renaissance and Spring Seasons. Winning titles will be announced in June 2018.

The SNC Project undertakes to discover, develop, and produce plays that are inspired by and in conversation with Shakespeare’s work. The ASC selects companion plays through a blind submission process. The selected plays are performed in repertory with their Shakespeare counterparts. Winning playwrights receive a cash prize of $25,000 as well as funds to support their travel and housing for the rehearsal process at the ASC’s Blackfriars Playhouse.

“I can’t wait to share these brand new plays with the world! Applications continue to roll in, but already I’ve seen a tremendous amount of imagination, creativity, and love for Shakespeare,” says ASC Literary Manager Anne G. Morgan. “I invite audiences to join us in celebrating today’s great playwrights as they engage with Shakespeare’s plays.”

Accessing the Work at ASC

Based on audience feedback, and in an effort to make its programming more accessible, the ASC is making some adjustments to its pricing structure. In addition to removing added service charges and fees, the center is expanding its midweek local rush to include residents of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, implementing a new flat rate $20 ticket for college students, and increasing discounts for youth ages 7-18 to encourage family attendance.

The military discount has increased to 20% and a new 50% discount has been added for all K-12 teachers. Both discounts are available at all performances beginning in the new Artistic Year.

Pay-what-you-will performances will continue to be held throughout the year.

Subscribers will be able to use their subscription packages to reserve tickets online for the first time with a tool the ASC is rolling out on its new website.

Artistic Year Show Titles

The 2018/19 Artistic Year features six Shakespeare titles including:

  • As You Like It

  • Richard III

  • The Merry Wives of Windsor

  • Henry IV, Part 1

  • The Comedy of Errors

  • The Winter’s Tale

Other titles include the world-premiere production of Jane Austen’s Emma adapted by Emma Whipday; the restoration comedy The Man of Mode; the comedy of manners The Belle’s Stratagem; the Elizabethan tragedy Arden of Faversham; and Antigone, the ASC’s first ever production of a Greek play.

A Christmas Carol and Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) return for the Holiday Season.


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