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  • Writer's pictureChase O'Neill

Travels with Chase: Blackfriars Playhouse


I love to travel to regional and international theatres. I've made theatre trips to DC, London, Boston, Waterford, White Plains, Beverly, Louisville, Torrington, Shanghai, Cleveland, and many, many other places.

This past weekend I set sail via light land locomotive (a bus) to Staunton, Virginia, home of the American Shakespeare Center's Blackfriars Playhouse. To preface this blog post I should mention I have seen most of my regional theatre shows here but the shows I have previously seen here were part of the Summer/Fall seasons. Their current season is their ASC's Renaissance Season, which recreates Elizabethan staging conditions and are actor driven productions. You can read more about these productions and how they're done on BroadwayWorld here.

This season for them is Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Henry IV Part 1" as well as "Arden of Faversham" by Unknown, and "Anne Page Hates Fun" by Amy E. Witting (which was one of the first plays selected for Shakespeare's New Contemporaries program at the ASC).


I DO NOT review the theatre I see online. I was able to see "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Henry IV Part 1" this past weekend but when I post about my travels my aim is to bring awareness to significant things that are happening in theatre across the country and what happens to my own writing during the trip.

Significance of the Trip

This trip had, to me, many significant things happen however, I will highlight only two (even though so much more happened!)

First of all, I treated it as a self-imposed writers retreat to edit and develop the book of our musical "The Caveman". The trip was incredibly successful in that respect with the book of the musical becoming so much stronger and well rounded. Staunton always helps me get away from NYC and really focus on making new work or developing in progress work.

Staunton Main Street after a Snow Storm

The second thing that happened was a remarkable feat of representation in theatre which you can read about here. Brandon Carter* is currently on the Blackfriars Playhouse stage playing Prince Hal as the first African-American male (as far their research has shown) to play the role in "Henry IV Part 1" in the United States. Read his actor profile linked above to see the significance of his portrayal as Prince Hal and how he feels bringing his Prince Hal to life!


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* indicates member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA)

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