ASC Theatre Camp joins the unique mission of The American Shakespeare Center of recovering the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. Each summer campers perform plays at the Blackfriars Playhouse that shake the cobwebs out and put the fun back into Shakespeare. How? Here are some of the things you’ll do and why:
Visiting Scholars and graduate interns provide ASC Theatre Camp participants with tools for exploring Shakespeare's canon. Linguistics, original staging practices, and historical background receive special attention. Campers will gain knowledge about the play in which they are cast, the plays in which their fellow campers are cast, and the plays performed during the Blackfriars summer season.
In companies of 13, campers combine their new knowledge of texts and experience in stagecraft in one of the three shows offered during their session. Each camper then rehearses an hour-long Shakespearean production under the guidance of professional directors to be performed on the final day of camp. Students are challenged to make creative choices within the guidelines of the following original practices used by the ASC:
Since Shakespeare’s plays were performed at 2 in the afternoon, his actors depended on the sun for illumination. By keeping the lights on, actors at the ASC and at our Theatre Camp discover the benefits of interaction with the audience, the creation of a communal theatre experience, and the magic of theatre of the imagination.
Practicality and budgets in Shakespeare’s company dictated that some actors play several different parts in one play. For instance, the same actor in Hamlet, might play the Ghost of Hamlet’s father, the Player King, and the Gravedigger—interestingly enough they’re all important advisors to Hamlet throughout the play.
Since custom prevented women from appearing on stage until well after Shakespeare’s death, boys played all of the fascinating female roles. While actors at ASC Theatre Camp include male and female participants, cross gender casting keeps alive the spirit of disguise and the transformational power the theatre has over both the actor and audience.
In keeping with original staging conditions, all sound generated at the Blackfriars Playhouse comes from the performers, whether it is pre-show and interlude songs or backstage sound effects. We encourage ASC Theatre Camp performers to bring their musical instruments to camp, in addition to any other skills, such as, singing, dance, acrobatics, juggling, etc.; in order to entertain the audience before and during the plays.
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A Midsummer Night's Dream
Sunday, August 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
2015 SUMMER/FALL SEASON
2015 HOLIDAY SEASON
2016 ACTORS' RENAISSANCE SEASON
2016 SPRING SEASON