Leadership and Corporate Training


Since 2003, the American Shakespeare Center has been offering Executives and other professionals with influence and initiative -- including the Federal Government, the British Embassy, universities, and private businesses such as multinational corporation International Paper -- a chance to strengthen their communication and presentation skills by way of half-day to week-long retreats at the Blackfriars Playhouse.

With ASC Actors and Education artists, participants explore the way leadership works in speeches of Shakespeare's leaders, good and bad, from Richard III to Antony to Henry V. In dynamic sessions with our skilled actors they discover the vocal and physical clues that enable and enhance their personal communication styles, and they practice those skills through the formation and presentation of challenge statements related to their own work and lives. Moreover, they play. Yes, play. Using the methods of communication and teamwork that the ASC has developed through our work with Shakespeare's rehearsal conditions, participants explore cooperative problem-solving in teams and present their work before and audience of peers.

Some words of praise for ASC Leadership Programming from prior participants:
  • "It was incomparable training; the best I have ever attended."
  • "I would recommend this training to anyone interested in a challenge."
  • "The ASC team was spectacular. They made us feel welcome and supported."
  • "The staff is very friendly, excellent communicators, and each provided different perspectives around leadership through their acting abilities."
  • "You could feel the passion while seeing the professionalism. I really felt as though I had been part of something special."
  • "The link between Shakespeare and leadership is amazing."
  • "Many useful tools given in extraordinary ways"
  • "Exploring the leadership methods of oratory persuasion (Richard III, Henry V) - I had no idea of how you could compare and contrast their arguments, their methods, and the way they try to motivate their followers. The leadership issues are directly applicable to what we learn at FEI."
  • "Very educational and insightful lessons about leadership, and it was a lot of fun. Ralph Cohen is an excellent teacher."
  • "I learned that, as an executive, I am always on stage."
  • "It reinforced components of presentation that are important in leadership. I believe I will be more aware of the impact of speech, stance, positioning, environment, etc. on leadership effectiveness."
  • "Great insights about styles of leadership from Shakespeare's characters. I saw how words, approach, and style can affect followers and leaders."
  • "It was different because it wasn't done in the old dull, dreary classroom manner. It was different because it went down a totally new highway of teaching. Similar lesson, different car. A sportier, shiner, faster car! I loved it. It didn't feel like work or 'class'."
  • "I was engaged by the actors acting out the scenes followed by Dr. Cohen's analysis and the discussions about the relevance of Shakespeare's messages to contemporary leadership."
  • "Perhaps the best thing we have ever done!"
  • "Very professional, specific, accurate, and friendly"
  • "A terrific way to explore Virginia's surrounding local academic community (Mary Baldwin College, proximity to both UVA and JMU); a wonderful alternative experience for FEI attendees."
  • "Fantastic! Highlight of the conference."
  • "Speakers inspired me to start thinking as a leader"

For more information on how your business, corporation, or office can benefit from an ASC Leadership program, please contact Director of Education Sarah Enloe.