Preparing the next generation of problem-solving, risk-taking, outside-the-box-thinking, consistently collaborating, fully engaging and fully engaged human beings.
Also, the occasional actor.*
The ASC Theatre Camp empowers high school students to leap into college life and learning with a secure safety net. With Shakespeare’s text and technology as our touchstone, the ASCTC experience boasts a unique combination of performance training, academic exploration, and the opportunity to meet minds sharing the same passion and persistence. Our mission is to challenge every participant to explore the limits of their infinite potential in a safe, supportive, stable environment. ASCTC is a catalyst for profound self-discovery: students emerge not only with finer control over their craft and better preparation for college, but also with more confidence, capability, and capacity for growth.
“This is the place where you’re not the only one.”
-Ogechi Egonu, 2017 winner of the English Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition and ASCTC camper
Twice every summer, The ASC Theatre Camp (ASCTC) plunges 39 high-school students into three weeks of intensive, immersive, incomparable programming in the Shakespearean Shangri-La of Staunton, Virginia – home of the American Shakespeare Center and the world’s only recreation of the Blackfriars Playhouse, Shakespeare’s indoor theatre.
At ASCTC, we transport students out of their normal lives and beyond their comfort zone. We challenge them to explore the limits of their infinite potential in a safe, stable, supportive environment. emerge not only with finer control over their craft and better preparation for college, but also with more confidence, more capability, and more capacity for growth and change.
My self-confidence improved monumentally during the time I was at camp. I went into camp shy and quiet, constantly fearing that I was going to be judged negatively. By the time camp was over, I truly believed that it didn’t matter if people judged me because I am enough just how I am.
ASCTC is a three week bliss, a place where I felt entirely at home. Surrounded by intellectual peers and superiors, every moment, in and out of class, was an education. I met 37 of the world’s finest human beings there, and my only regret is that I didn’t get to spend more time with each…
ASCTC participants preview the college experience by living and working on the residential campus at Mary Baldwin University. They live in dorms, work in university classrooms and performance spaces, and eat in the dining hall. They spend their days rehearsing with professional directors, training with professional actors, and learning from professional academics: ASC actors, MBU graduate-level faculty, preeminent scholars, and (of course) each other. They spend their evenings at the Blackfriars Playhouse, spellbound by Shakespeare’s stagecraft.
Students can enroll in the college credit companion course and earn three college credits from Mary Baldwin University, transferable to other institutions. They can elect to stay for an extended week of internship experience, getting hands-on practice working with a professional theatre company. But all work and no play makes camp a dull sport – even when working feels like playing. Mornings off bring sleeping in and brunching at the local Farmer’s market. Days off bring trips to the lake, water balloon fights, dance parties, and well-earned opportunities to luxuriate in languorous laziness.
Three weeks of this chimeric, collaborative creativity culminates in the Final Performance Festival, where campers mount their final productions (for a packed house) on the Blackfriars Playhouse stage. ASCTC is more than just a summer camp, or a theatre intensive, or an academic program.
The pages in this section contain general information about the ASC Theatre Camp, including additional opportunities like the Extended Experience Week and college credit course, and specific information about the types of tuition assistance we have available for qualifying families.
*We can neither confirm nor deny the rumors regarding a continued love for and tendency to lean towards the performance of plays written by Shakespeare and his contemporaries among adults who attended the ASC Theatre Camp in their youth.