ASC serves our Hudson County and wider northern New Jersey audiences by bringing the transformative, human truths of classical theatre directly into their classrooms and communities. Through production, education, scholarship and community activities, ASC seeks to both reflect and transform the minds and hearts of its audience and its artists, shining a light on our human frailties and our human potential, and serving as a cultural hub to a growing community.
With Shakespeare as our foundation, ASC engages our community in classic theater through clear, vibrant, and affordable productions and educational programs, in order to entertain, inspire and empower audiences, students and artists of all ages and backgrounds.
Fall 2000 - Spring 2003: ASC was founded in Hoboken, NJ by an intrepid group of actors and musicians who were (and are) all in love with theatre and with Shakespeare in particular. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Colette Rice, over its first three years the young company created a whirlwind of activity, producing twelve plays in brief runs while growing its membership, artistic approach, a vibrant in-school educational program christened WINS! (Will in Neighborhood Schools), and a NJ-NYC board. ASC’s rapid development in its first years earned early Associate Membership in the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Equity status as a Small Professional Theatre, and a first major grant from the New Jersey Council for the Arts. NJSCA has been one of ASC’s supporters ever since.
Fall 2003-2004: In ASC’s fourth season, a change in its Hoboken venue’s direction sent the company to the Jersey City Museum for interim performance space while searching for a new mainstage home. The Museum was the first host for ASC’s free-admission Bare Bard staged readings, a program that has continued without interruption to the present and that provided the doorway to ASC’s partnership with New Jersey City University.
Spring 2005 - Present: With 2005’s debut production of Romeo & Juliet in NJCU’s West Side Theatre, ASC found a new home. Each season since has seen mainstage Shakespeare plays and several Bare Bard and other projects, including new and lesser known play readings under the heading The Play’s the Thing and experimental stagings under the new ASC Lab. The Education Department has expanded to include fourth grade through high school programs, and WINS has continued to bring hundreds of young people to the theater each season.
Since 2007, ASC has become an official program at NJCU as a Theatre in Residence, has been promoted to Senior Member status within the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and has received its first major press reviews, including glowing assessments of As You Like It, The Three Musketeers and Henry V in the Star Ledger. The Ledger also awarded the “New Jersey ‘Tony Award’ for Best Costumes - 2008” to long-time ASC Costume Designer Eva Lachur Omeljaniuk for The Merchant of Venice.
In 2013, Colin Ryan and Jennifer America assumed the leadership positions of Artistic Director and General Manager, respectively. Colin Ryan remained as Interim Director of Education, and is continuing the expansion of ASC’s vibrant educational programs to include a variety of one-day and ongoing workshops, as well as in-school and after-school classes for area youth.
Season Thirteen featured our mainstage production of The Winter's Tale in April 2013, an ASC Lab staged reading of The Wars of the Roses in December 2012, and a special performance in May 2013 at our neighborhood congregation, B’nai Jacob. In May of 2013, budget cuts forced NJCU to end its relationship with ASC. St. Peter’s University stepped forward and offered ASC a new home. That relationship is a work in progress, but seems to be one that will bear much fruit.