Group Sales - Academic

At ASC, we believe the most direct route to knowing and appreciating Shakespeare is to see his plays.

Students who experience performances of Shakespeare’s plays in ways which engage his stagecraft as well as his wordcraft gain a unique understanding and appreciation of the plays they would not otherwise have. To facilitate this engagement, the ASC offers Student Matinees during the school year, Playhouse Tours, and customizable workshops so that groups from middle schools, high schools, home-schools, colleges, and other academic institutions can take advantage of the learning opportunities our theatre presents.

At the Blackfriars Playhouse, our actors use Shakespeare’s staging conditions to infuse his works with high energy and fresh vitality. Our thrust staging and universal lighting mean that your students become part of the action -- our actors will talk to them directly during the performance, as the actors of Shakespeare’s company would have done 400 years ago, engaging them as allies in the action, making them complicit in nefarious schemes, appealing to them for help or guidance. The universal lighting also means that your students will be able to watch each others’ reactions to what happens onstage. The music that our actors play during the pre-show and during interludes -- modern songs which your students are likely to have on their own iPods -- will help your students experience Shakespeare as relevant and exciting, rather than musty and old-fashioned. At the ASC, our goal is not just to get your students to see Shakespeare, but to get them to love it.

Begin booking your visit today!  Fill out our Reservation Request Form and Group Sales will contact you to lock in your reservation.  A 25% nonrefundable deposit is required to confirm your reservation, but a final headcount isn't due until 21 days before your visit!

2015/16 Student Matinee Performances

Tickets for Student Matinees are $19. For every 15 paid tickets, we offer one complimentary ticket. Thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest, middle and high school groups can apply for ticket subsidies. Please complete the online application if you are interested.


9/22, 9/29, 10/13, 10/20, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 11/22

10/6, 10/27


11/30, 12/1

12/2, 12/6, 12/7, 12/8, 12/9, 12/13, 12/14, 12/15


1/26, 2/2, 2/9, 2/16, 2/23, 3/2, 3/9, 3/16, 3/23, 3/30


4/6, 4/20, 4/27, 5/4, 5/11, 5/18


Why should I take my students to see a play or attend a workshop?

When Shakespeare and his contemporaries wrote their scripts, they weren’t writing words to be seen on a page -- they were writing words to be heard in a theatre, as part of the complex and dynamic interaction of actor, audience, and playing. When your students see a play performed live, by actors who know what they are saying and why they are saying it, the language won’t seem difficult - they’ll forget to be scared of “thees” and “thous,” they’ll hear the jokes and laugh with them, they’ll stop worrying about trying to remember details of plot and will instead immerse themselves in the experience. And through our workshops, your students will explore the ins and outs of the text, special effects, staging conditions, and language. They will understand why these plays still hold appeal, and they will discover what these great works have to say to them and to the modern world.


If your students are unable to attend a Student Matinee, we offer special group rates for evening and weekend performances - 20% off of regular pricing.

In addition to a performance, your group can also schedule a special Playhouse Tour with our knowledgeable tour guides. Tickets for groups are $5. The tour goes upstairs, downstairs, backstage, and onstage and has lots of information about ASC, Shakespeare's staging conditions, and more!

Don't forget to ask Group Sales about adding one of our workshops, led by education artists and ASC actors, which you can schedule as part of your trip to the Blackfriars Playhouse.

With our Little Academe Experience, groups can schedule an entire day, weekend, or week filled with workshops, performances, and tours. The experience is customized for and with you, so ask Group Sales about how to begin booking a week with ASC.

To schedule your group to attend a performance, workshops, or tour, contact our Group and Education Sales Manager at or 540.885.5588 ext 24.

How can I use performance to teach my students?

Check out our ASC Study Guides for useful classroom activities - one comes free when you attend a Student Matinee. Each guide includes instructions for working your students through a text from start to finish, beginning by familiarizing them with getting up on their feet to act through scenes. Other activities include: working with scansion and iambic pentameter, using basic rhetoric to find acting clues, making connections through historical perspectives, approaching difficult staging moments, examining textual differences, and using asides and audience contact, as well as a guide for having your students perform an abbreviated version of the play. For teachers working in the Commonwealth of Virginia, each guide also includes a comprehensive listing of the S.O.L.s which each activity can fulfill.