See a Show and Spend a Luxurious Evening at Berkeley House

Berkeley House Bed & Breakfast is thrilled to partner with Staunton’s American Shakespeare Center, offering our guests a memorable night for two at the Blackfriars Playhouse! When making your reservation with us you’ll see the option to add the package. Finally, send us a message of we’ll call you to confirm which play, date (if reserving more than one night with us) and show time you prefer. We’ll reserve your seats and you only need to collect your tickets at Will Call before your show time. Rooms and tickets are subject to availability. Check the Blackfriars Playhouse Schedule now.

About the American Shakespeare Center

Shakespeare is very well known here in Staunton. Not personally, of course. Shakespeare died 400 years ago; before Staunton and most of American cities were even on a map!

The American Shakespeare Center recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theater, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education.

The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) has become a cultural treasure for Virginia and an international resource for scholars and students of all ages. A quarter of a million people – 50,000 of them students – have enjoyed Shakespeare in his “natural habitat” since the Blackfriars Playhouse opened in 2001.

Blackfriars Playhouse is short walk from Berkeley House Bed & Breakfast; about a 5 minute stroll if you take your time. When you walk in the theater you will be amazed at all the fabulous woodwork inside. A master carpenter must have taken his time because it is stunning. All the seats are good seats and afford you the opportunity to experience the play that happens almost all around you.

The ASC puts you in the center of the action by leaving the lights on you. Lit by chandeliers and wall sconces, the Blackfriars Playhouse allows the actors to see the audience and include you in the world of plays. The actors in your midst turn you into the court of King Lear, Richard II’s army, and Hamlet’s confidant.

The actors are amazing and convey Shakespeare’s meaning and purpose flawlessly. Even if you didn’t study the play or Shakespeare in general you can follow the action and will find yourselves moved by what is happening all around you.

If you have not experienced a performance at the Playhouse, there are some things you should know.

They do it with the lights on. Meaning, they leave all the lights on the whole time. Why? Because Shakespeare did.

They open the doors to the Playhouse 30 minutes before the show and live music starts 15 minutes before the show. You’ll hear anything from Bruno Mars to Frank Sinatra. Why? Because music was an integral part of performances at Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Playhouse, sometimes played before the performance and almost always during the interlude.

The actors will talk to you, act with you, and if you sit onstage on a gallant stool, may ask you to participate.

They happily accept cash or credit cards at our bar onstage. For their fuller houses, they’ll open the upstairs bar as well. Both bars serve refreshing beverages and delicious snacks such as amazing gummy bears. Please leave your own food or drink at home. ABC regulations do not allow outside food or drink.

You’ll be in the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre. The audience sits on three sides. There are wooden columns. There are chandeliers. There are tall people with big hair (sometimes). All of these things may block your view from time to time. BUT, our actors move a lot, so you won’t miss much.

Brave gallants must claim their seats 15 minutes before the show starts. Because our performances are interactive, if you are sitting onstage (on a gallant stool), you need to arrive 15 minutes before the show begins. Gallants on the stools are part of the show, and need to be in place before they begin. Actors will offer empty gallants’ stools to patrons during the pre-show speech.

You’re about to experience what we think is a wonderful re-creation of not only Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, but the entire lively, interactive, fun, moving, wonderful, theatrical experience that Shakespeare’s audience enjoyed. (Except you’ll have cushioned seats, indoor plumbing, and air-conditioning/heat). We hope you have a wonderful time.

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