Please Note: The tour departs by motorcoach from downtown Washington, DC with a designated secondary pick-up outside the city. Content delivered by the study leader on the way to the destination, after the secondary pick-up, is an integral part of the study tour experience. Meeting the group once the tour is en route is discouraged.
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for participation on all tours; additionally, current CDC and Smithsonian COVID-19 guidelines (at the time of the tour) will be followed, including but not limited to masks on the bus and indoors.
Beyond its rich Civil War history and its beautiful setting, Staunton, Virginia, has a distinction that sets it apart from other small cities in the Blue Ridge—and anywhere else in the world, for that matter. It’s the home of the only full-scale recreation of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Playhouse.
The 300-seat indoor theatre is the centerpiece of the American Shakespeare Center (ASC), where audience members can experience the Bard’s plays in a way that captures what counterparts in the London of 400 years ago might have found when Hamlet or The Merry Wives of Windsor were the latest hits.
With a playing space lit by a dozen candelabra, productions in the intimate wood-paneled playhouse are mounted in ways that closely approximate the stage practices of Shakespeare’s time—particularly in the performers’ connection to the spectators on three sides of them.
Director and teacher Frank Shutts leads an excursion into theatrical history that begins with a 90-minute ASC-led workshop on Shakespeare’s staging conditions. It’s followed by lunch at a local restaurant and a return to the playhouse for a performance of The Tempest. Afterward, there’s time to explore historic Staunton on an optional guided tour.
- Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Friday, October 7, 2022.
- The tour meets at and leaves by bus from the Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C St., SW (corner of 6th and C Sts., SW), with a stop the Vienna Metro south-side Kiss and Ride at about 7:55 a.m.
- Theater seating is on wooden benches with backs and cushions.
- The tour involves walking and standing.
- Dinner in Staunton is on your own.
- For additional tour information: