All summer long, a team of distinguished Shakespeare experts from Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust has been travelling the United States, engaging in conversations about and researching the relationship between the United States and William Shakespeare. After visiting 13 companies across the nation, the Shakespeare on the Road team will make its final stop at the American Shakespeare Center Blackfriars Playhouse Aug. 26–30.
While in Staunton, the team will interview ASC administrative and artistic staff as well as audience members, attend a lecture at Mary Baldwin College, see a dress rehearsal of Edward II, and watch performances of The Comedy of Errors and Macbeth.
One particular highlight of their visit is a special presentation taking place immediately following the 7:30 p.m. performance of The Comedy of Errors on Thursday, Aug. 28 during which the Shakespeare on the Road team will present to the ASC a bronze medal, mounted on the cross-section of a cedar tree from the garden of Shakespeare’s birthplace, to commemorate both ASC's role in the project and the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.
“The amount of Shakespearean theater-making in America dwarves that of any other country, the UK included," Paul Prescott, associate professor at the University of Warwick, said in an ASC press release. "Every summer, from sea to shining sea—and at all points in between—from spit-and-sawdust performances in local parks to slick professional productions in reconstructed Elizabethan playhouses, the Bard busts out all over the USA. This trip will take the pulse of Shakespeare in America over the course of one remarkable summer in 2014 and is a perfect way of celebrating his enduring popularity and the 450th anniversary of his birth.”
“For centuries, America has topped the list of nations flocking to visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon," said the Rev. Paul Edmondson, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Head of Research and Knowledge. "Americans were the first to sign our oldest surviving visitors’ book at Shakespeare’s Birthplace back in 1812, and now we welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors from the USA every year. Shakespeare on the Road is a reverse pilgrimage, to record and salute the troupes and groups who keep Shakespeare’s genius burning brightly across America.”
You can follow the Shakespeare on the Road journey through videos, sound clips, and blog posts on their interactive website www.shakespeareontheroad.com.
August 22, 2014