Shakespeare comes alive in Staunton, Virginia

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is well known for its natural beauty. Visitors come from far and wide to hike the trails of the Shenandoah National Park and see the vibrant colors of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the fall — but there’s a new reason folks are flocking to the area: the theater.

In 2001, Shenandoah Shakespeare, which was to become the American Shakespeare Center, opened the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia. The playhouse is a replica of Shakespeare’s original indoor theater, and plans are in the works to build an open air replica of the Globe Theater as well.

Visitors to the Staunton playhouse can enjoy a rotating schedule of Shakespeare classics as well as modern plays and concert events in an atmosphere designed to recreate the Elizabethan experience. Next week marks the opening of the ASC’s production of Shakespeare’s Richard II:

An exploration about the nature of greatness is timely fare in an election year. Pitting Richard II, a man of words, against Bullingbrook, a man of action, Shakespeare raises the art of language to new heights while reminding us that rulers “feel want, taste greif, need friends.”

There are pay-what-you-will performances on September 10, 11, and 12, while regular ticket prices start at $20. Also playing this fall are King Lear, Twelfth Night, and Measure for Measure.