American Shakespeare Center Will Livestream Full Performance of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
In response to the nationwide crisis, American Shakespeare Center is going to attempt their first-ever livestream of a full performance: ASC's National Tour production of a special 90 minute adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
ASC's Tour, whose work traveling from Maine to Texas was canceled in the midst of university closings, returned home to Staunton earlier this week.
American Shakespeare Center will offer their work digitally, under the name BlkFrsTV - a tongue in cheek reference to the company's Blackfriars Playhouse, the world's only re-creation of Shakespeare's indoor theatre.
ASC Artistic Director Ethan McSweeny noted, "Normally, our audiences come to Blackfriars for an experience in the hand-made, the intimate, and the personal. But in response to this crisis, along with performing arts organizations across the nation, we are attempting to graft our ancient theatre practices with the latest streaming technology Facebook has to offer. We figure that if audiences can't come to us, then we will go to them. It's a chance to pull up, in real-time, a chair to the virtual hearth, and join us at the beautiful Blackfriars Playhouse for a joyous, rousing, and energetic production by our spectacular National Tour Company."
"This is a community effort, and it wouldn't be possible without the incredible donated support of local filmmakers in the Shenandoah Valley who have considerably more expertise - and gear! - than ASC has," explained Managing Director Amy Wratchford, " In addition to our talented Assistant Director of Marketing for Visual Brand Lauren Parker and our Associate Artistic Director Dan Hasse we want to thank Deep Structure Productions, Paladin Media Group, Gary Kirby, Eamonn Farrell and Project Flight, and Alan Moye and The Communication Lab at Mary Baldwin University for helping us enter this new media landscape."
"If the experiment works and we are able to do so, it's something we'd like to try again. We hope that patrons and friends of ASC will tune in," said McSweeny.
"The epidemic that we are facing mirrors one that Shakespeare himself faced at his Globe and Blackfriars Theatres from 1594 to 1642. Shakespeare survived, and his company's 48-year run made it the most durable theatre troupe in the Golden Age of the English stage," remarked ASC co-founder Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen, "We are Shakespeare's 'new' contemporaries. So my prediction is that ASC, born in 1988 and now 32 years old, will reopen stronger than ever and, as a family, beat Shakespeare's record."
BlkFrs TV can be found on the company's official Facebook page. Livestream dates and times will be posted to the company's social media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram, along with ASC's website, americanshakespearecenter.com; watch those spaces for further announcements.
The company is currently accepting donations to help them re-open with a full staff in June. The full statement on ASC's closure can be read on their website. Supporters are encouraged to donate if they are able, or to purchase tickets to the upcoming summer season, and to share ASC's story on social media so others can follow their leadership. All pre-purchased tickets for canceled performances will be initially moved into placeholders to be used for a future performance. If patrons would like to convert their pre-purchased tickets into a donation, they are encouraged to call the Box Office. The Box Office can be reached at 877-MUCH-ADO (877-682-4236).