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“Shakespeare as it should be”

American Shakespeare Center
Ranked #1 of 39 things to do in Staunton
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Blackfriars Playhouse is the world's only re-creation of Shakespeare's indoor theatre. "Stunning", says Frommer's. Located in historic downtown Staunton, VA, this 300-seat Renaissance theatre offers productions of Shakespeare and classic plays year round that the Washington Post says are "shamelessly entertaining" and the Boston Globe says are "phenomenal...bursting with energy”.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed January 21, 2012

Stepping into the theater for the first time, I felt like I had been there before. Of course! Same setup as the Swan in Stratford upon Avon. But they keep the lights on, just like the old days. Such a pleasant surprise to find this gem in Staunton (which the locals pronounce "stant-en"). The acting is a bit uneven, but always entertaining.

1  Thank xtex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"christmas carol"
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"during intermission"
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"blackfriars playhouse"
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"twelfth night"
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"great performance"
in 16 reviews
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"romeo and juliet"
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"indoor theater"
in 14 reviews
"front row"
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"audience members"
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"globe theatre"
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"talented actors"
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"backstage tour"
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708 - 712 of 783 reviews

Reviewed January 19, 2012

This was so much more fun than we expected. Not just a play. Music, comedy, interaction with the audience. And a beautiful playhouse. Looking forward to going again!

1  Thank Lydspot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2012

My wife and I have been about 20 times in the past 5 years and have a great time every time we go. I think it is a must and worth a trip to Staunton as many folks have told me.It seems each time someone from another state sits beside me and we talk. They are always excited and say they will come back. Lots of restaurants within a block and easy walking.

1  Thank VA B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2012

We didn't love Shakespeare until we moved near this theater and started going regularly. The enthusiastic casts and stellar performances make the experience fun from the moment you take your seat and make Shakespeare very accessible.

1  Thank schlegal1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 13, 2012

The American Shakespeare Center is the number one attraction in Staunton, and not because it is only competing with a handful of other offerings-- it could stand apart from attractions in any major city because they offer something truly unique and the performers are VERY talented.

The building is in downtown Staunton, and you can find street parking or park in a parking garage. If you are here on the weekend the street parking is free and unlimited but if you are here during the weekday there is a 2 hour time limit for a certain time frame. This may be problematic because the plays could run over two hours (our play, Much Ado About Nothing, was 2 hours and 20 minutes or so).

We didn't have reservations, but for a play at 2pm on Sunday in early January, the audience was small and we easily purchased two "student rush" tickets in the front row at a great price. The theater is AMAZING! Wooden benches, stage, walkways, tapestries on the walls, etc.. reminded me of the Shakespeare globe theater in England, but 1/4th of the size (and no mosh pit in front of the stage-- there are seats)

They try hard to give you an authentic experience, such as no dimming of the lights (not possible in Shakespeare's time). Regarding seating, the best seats are the seats close to the stage on the first floor. You can see the actor's expressions clearly (which are priceless) and if you are in the first two rows or on any of the stool seats on the stage, you will likely be interacted with or referenced by to some degree by the actors.

We saw the play Much Ado About Nothing, and it was excellent! Every single actor or actress is so talented. You can tell that they really enjoy what they are doing, and each person makes their character memorable. It is a wonder that they have all accumulated in little Staunton, just south of Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah region. I wish they weren't so far away from DC, because this is a group of performers I would pay money to see on a regular basis (whereas usually one play per year is satisfactory to my theatrical needs). It was one of the highlights of our trip!

1  Thank LaraJohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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