They Do It With The Lights On: A Spring Break Immersion in Shakespeare

a man performs on a wooden stage in an enclosed theater.

View from the stage at the Blackfriars Theatre

Take a spring break trip to the Actors’ Renaissance Season at the American Shakespeare Center, and earn academic credit while enjoying immersion in original theater practices. 

Project description

Since 2001 the American Shakespeare Center at Staunton, Virginia, in the lovely Shenandoah Valley, has used its Blackfriars Theatre to put on an extraordinary repertory series of productions of the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, emphasizing original theater practices such as actor-direction, cue scripts, full lighting, extensive doubling of parts, minimal props, and intensive audience interaction.

This spring break trip to their Actors’ Renaissance Season allows you to earn between 1 and 3 academic credits (1 credit for attendance and a journal entry for all events; 2-3 credits for a series of staggered contractually-agreed-upon assignments) by attending 5 full productions and a range of expert but fun academic events that teach you about the craft and the company, such as playhouse tours, workshops, rehearsals and talkbacks, and a lecture by ASC Co-Founder Dr. Ralph Cohen.

Spring comes early to the Shenandoah Valley, and in between assignments you will be free to explore this lovely Civil War-era town and the surrounding countryside.

Your guides and co-teachers will be UB Associate Professors Barbara Bono of English and Maria Horne of Theatre and Dance. Both are experts in Shakespeare and drama, and each have received both the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the UB Meyerson Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring.

Project outcome

Individually-designed response papers, lesson plans, projects and/or formal papers.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Less than a semester
Start time February to March 2020
Level of collaboration Activities are undertaken together, evaluated individually
Benefits Academic credit
Who is eligible All undergraduate students, preferably with some experience reading Shakespeare and/or acting his plays
Support Funding is available after the completion of the preparation badge. See below.

Core partners

  • UB Department of English
  • UB Department of Theatre and Dance
  • UB Arts Collaboratory

Project mentors

Barbara Bono

Associate Professor


545 Clemens Hall

Phone: (716) 645-0713


Maria S. Horne

Associate Professor

Theatre and Dance

285 Alumni Arena

Phone: (716) 645-0580



To engage with this project, you will work through a series of Project-Based Collaboration digital badges to guide your experience. These badges will:

  1. Guide you in setting your goals and intentions as well as gaining additional context,
  2. Enhance your collaboration with your mentor/partner,
  3. Support your reflection and help you integrate your learning with your academic and professional goals.

All students who wish to participate in a project on the Project Portal must first complete the Project Preparation Digital Badge. First, contact the project mentor to discuss availability and after you’ve received approval, you can start the Project Preparation Digital Badge.

Preparation guidance

Once you have registered for the Project Preparation Digital Badge, you will receive further instructions related to the activities you will need to complete. In addition, you will also complete the following preparation activities for this particular project:

  • During the month of February students will read and discuss the five plays will we see in March under the direction of Professor Bono
  • The preliminary budget and itinerary will be available by Dec. 1