American Shakespeare Center

American Shakespeare Center

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American Shakespeare Center

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The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) is a regional theatre company located in Staunton, Virginia in the United States. The theatre company focuses on plays from the Shakespeare canon, and includes works contemporary to his time period or related in other ways, such as The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

As of 2008, the Center maintains a rotating repertory of plays 51 weeks a year, a resident Actors Equity troupe, a touring troupe, a year-round laboratory for students and scholars, a one-of-a-kind MLitt/MFA Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance graduate program in partnership with Mary Baldwin College for actors, directors, teachers, and dramaturgs, a summer camp for high-school students, a summer program for middle school students, and the Blackfriars Playhouse.


The company was founded in 1988 by Shakespeare scholar, Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen, and his former student Jim Warren. It was originally a professional traveling troupe named Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, renamed Shenandoah Shakespeare in 1999 when it settled in Staunton, and renamed American Shakespeare Center in 2005 to better reflect its mission.

In 1988 Shenandoah Shakespeare Express (SSE) toured the State of Virginia with Richard III. The next year it took The Taming of the Shrew on the road to Delaware, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York. The company received its first grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy to run a seminar for...
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