About

The Washington Shakespeare Company never saw an arduous climb it didn’t aspire to. The little ensemble in the cavernous playhouse on the Potomac doesn’t cavort much in the gentle valleys of world drama; the WSC seems to look upon theater as an extreme sport, the kind practiced satisfyingly only at more treacherous altitudes.”

Peter Marks, The Washington Post

Founded in 1990 as Washington Shakespeare Company, WSC Avant Bard is a performing arts organization dedicated primarily to producing classic works—both time-tested and contemporary classics; emphasizing a provocative, bold approach in an intimate setting; and training and showcasing the best emerging talent in the region, mentored by seasoned, professional theatre artists.

WSC Avant Bard’s mission is expressed through its commitment to artistic excellence, collaboration, developing talent, and promoting educational and social outreach.

Our history is replete with edgy, innovative productions of Shakespeare, from Julius Caesar on the top floor of an unfinished office building in Ballston to a Kubrick-inspired Richard II; productions of works by other world literary giants, from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot to Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman; American classics, from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire to Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour and Edward Albee’s Tiny Alice; exciting new plays, from Allison Currin’s Learning Curves to Julie Jensen’s Two-Headed; and hit productions of our favorite contemporary playwright, Tom Stoppard, from Travesties to Hapgood.

Our main stage programming, as well as our exciting reading series, build on this tradition of bold productions of rarely produced classics, both time-honored and contemporary.

In 1995, WSC Avant Bard converted a cavernous warehouse into the Clark Street Playhouse, creating one of the area’s most flexible performance spaces.  In 2010, WSC Avant Bard became the resident theater company at the 125-seat Black Box theater at Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia. As of January 2013, WSC Avant Bard is looking for a new home in Arlington County.

“I feel confident we can find a venue for our two spring shows with Arlington County’s help,” said Artistic Director Christopher Henley. “Then we need to get focused and creative to find a home for our 24th season and beyond. We’re fortunate to have a great acting company and strong support, so we’re optimistic about the next act. Arlington County has generously supported WSC over the past 23 years, and we’ve enjoyed a very close relationship that we expect to continue.”

WSC Avant Bard enjoys the support of many sponsors and partners in the community, and we count on our audiences to support us through donations and ticket sales, including our wildly popular Pay What You Can Saturday matinees.  Please consider making WSC Avant Bard part of your commitment to the arts.