Celebration of 25 Years of Shakespeare in the Valley

STAUNTON, Va. -- Wednesday, at the Blackfriars Playhouse, WVPT Public Television and the American Shakespeare Center announced a wide-ranging partnership, celebrating 25 years of Shakespeare in Staunton through a community event and national broadcasts.

The Blackfriars Playhouse is a recreation of the first indoor theatre in the English-speaking world, which William Shakespeare and his colleagues built inside London's Blackfriars Monastery.

In 2011, BBC filmmakers visited the Blackfriars Playhouse to film portions of the American Shakespeare Center (ASC)’s production of The Tempest for an upcoming series, Shakespeare Uncovered. ASC is the only American theatre company featured throughout the entire six-part series.

On Jan. 21, WVPT and ASC will host a free, public reception and early premiere of the last installment of the series, “Shakespeare Uncovered: The Tempest with Trevor Nunn,” which features the Blackfriars Playhouse and ASC actors. The reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Blackfriars Playhouse. The screening will be held at the Visulite Cinema at 7:30 p.m., followed by a question and answer session with actors who performed in 2011's The Tempest.

Through a grant made possible by THIRTEEN, the flagship public television station of the New York City tri-state area and the most-watched public television channel in the nation, WVPT and ASC partnered to create a broadcast companion to the Shakespeare Uncovered episode on The Tempest. WVPT was one of 10 public television stations across the country to receive the grant, valued at $15,750.

Titled Shakespeare for Everyone, the locally produced documentary, to be regionally broadcast on WVPT in May and distributed for national broadcast in late 2013, will bring Shakespeare’s work to life for a national audience through what Andrew Gurr, former director of research at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, calls “one of the most historically important theatres in the world.”

WVPT will offer a look into ASC rehearsals, showcase performances and share the experiences of not just the theatre’s audience but also the actors who make each production possible and have come from far and wide to call Staunton their home.

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