Recognizing colleagues at the Shakespeare at Winedale annual festival put on by the University of Texas at Austin, the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va., celebrated its own success and raised funds for coming endeavors at its annual gala Sept. 27.
Nearly 200 ASC supporters joined actors and staff as well as the honored guests at the Blackfriars Playhouse for what the company called the Complete Shakespeare Gala, celebrating the recent completion of Shakespeare’s full 38-play canon.
ASC Co-Founder and Director of Mission Ralph Cohen presented The Burbage Award to James “Doc” Ayres and James Loehlin of Shakespeare at Winedale. The ASC's Burbage Award honors a person whose work behind the scenes has advanced the enjoyment of the works of William Shakespeare for the delight and instruction of the world. It is named for James Burbage, who erected the first of London's large outdoor theatres in 1576. "The work that Burbage began has crossed the seas and the centuries to take root everywhere, but nowhere more deeply or fertilely than in a barn in Winedale, Texas," Cohen said in presenting the award. He and ASC Director of Education Sarah Enloe then shared testimonies from students who have taken part in the Winedale program over its 40-year existence.
The Robin Goodfellow Award is presented to a person whose work and generosity have helped the American Shakespeare Center grow and succeed, and this year's honored recipient was Dudley “Bud” Flanders of Staunton. "If you empower teenagers with the words of Shakespeare, they don’t need drugs or guns," he said in his thank-you remarks.
Attendees were treated to a concert by the fall season acting company as well as a special skit conceived and directed by Co-founder and Artistic Director Jim Warren that included lines from every one of Shakespeare's 38 plays. Members in the audience joined with the professional actors in trooping through the entire canon in the chronological order in which ASC has produced the plays, from Richard III in 1988 to Timon of Athens in February. Fall season shows Pericles, Macbeth, and The Comedy of Errors were highlighted, as full performances of those three shows will continue at the Blackfriars Playhouse until Nov. 30 along with Edmund Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac and Christopher Marlowe's Edward II.
The gala moved to the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center next door to the theater for food, wine, dancing, and silent and live auction of full-size ASC posters. The evening raised more than $32,000 for the ASC. However, the night was more than intended to raise money for the company's performance and education programs, Development Manager Danielle Hoffman said in a press release. "It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate ASC, our accomplishments, the support of our community here in Staunton, and the transformative impact of Shakespeare's works with friends and supporters of all kinds."
October 3, 2014