The American Shakespeare Center is located in Stanton, Va. right next door to the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. They have been around for 25 years and have brought some amazing performances both to the stage at the Blackfriars Playhouse and on the road. The playhouse itself opened its doors in 2001 and is a replica of the original Blackfriars Playhouse from the time of William Shakespeare.
No trip to Staunton is complete without a visit to the playhouse and if you have the time. Try to arrange to take the playhouse tour. In 2014 the cost is $7 for adults and the tour takes about an hour. Our tour was conducted by Lia an ASC Education Artist. In the winter it takes place at 2pm be sure to check their website for times and dates.
The tour begins outdoors in front of the building where you will learn about the history of this playhouse and also about the original. We learned about the history of the ASC and also what it took to get where they are. Among the many interesting facts we learned was that if you hear an actor saying “prithee” it means they have forgotten their next line and someone will feed it to them.
Back indoors you will be introduced to the current productions and cast. There are two companies, one that plays at the playhouse and one that goes on the road. Then comes the best part, you get to tour through the back of the house. The tour includes the costume department and props. You then get to walk out onto the stage and take as many pictures as you would like. Since this is not allowed during productions, it is the only way to get photos.
It is a very informative and enjoyable way to spend an hour and while you are there be sure to check out the gift shop and get tickets to a show if possible.