Blog Archives

Rockingham County Fair announces 2017 lineup

The Rockingham County Fair Association announces its 2017 Grandstand performers.

  • Monday August 14, 7:00PM with doors opening at 6:00PM Night with The Long Run – Ultimate Eagles Tribute with special guest the Worx Ticket Prices: $10 – $20
  • Tuesday August 15, 7:30PM with doors opening at 6:30PM Roots & Boots Tour with Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye, and Aaron Tippin Ticket Prices: $20 – $30
  • Wednesday August 16, 7:30PM with doors opening at 6:30PM Old Crow Medicine Show with special guest Steep Canyon Rangers Ticket Prices: $25 – $40
  • Thursday August 17, 7:30PM with doors opening at 6:30PM Brantley Gilbert – Devil Don’t Sleep Tour with special guest Luke Combs Ticket Prices: $50 – $75 VIP & Fan Club Tickets on sale March 21st at 10:00AM
  • Friday August 18, 8:00PM Demolition Derby Ticket Prices: $12 (7 & up); $5 (6 & under)

Saturday August 19 Farm & Tweaked Farm Tractor Pull at 3:00PM Interstate Truck & Tractor Pull at 7:00PM Ticket Prices: $12 (7 & up); $5 (6 & under) – one ticket covers both shows

*All general public concert tickets will go on sale March 24, 2017 at 10:00AM and can be purchased at or by calling 800-514-3849

The Rockingham County Fair is celebrating its 76th year of providing family fun, entertainment, and education in the Shenandoah Valley on August 14-19, 2017. For more information on Virginia’s Largest Agricultural Fair, visit

David Freed: Notes on Virginia exhibit at Beverley Street Studio School

Beverley Street Studio School will host David Freed’s Notes on Virginia exhibit: March 17-April 30. The exhibit opens on Friday, March 17, 2017 at 22 West Beverly Street from 5:30pm – 7:30pm with an artist’s talk at 6:00pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Artist David Freed earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Miami University, continued his artistic study at the Royal College of Art in London and completed a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa. His work has appeared in collections around the world, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Collection of Fine Arts, and the Art Institute of Chicago. He has been a recipient of various awards and scholarships including the Fulbright Grant and the VCU Award of distinction for his contribution and passion for the world of visual arts.

This exhibition will include two bodies of work: Visual reflections on climate in Virginia and self-portraiture. Currently a resident of Richmond, David draws much inspiration from the nature and seasonal changes that appear in the beautiful state of Virginia. His work expresses his version of heat, vibration, dirt, rain, dance, evening and various other attributes that accompany each season.

The exhibit will also highlight David’s self-portraiture. From a young age he was influenced and inspired by self-portraits and believes that ‘all art is self-portrait’. David utilizes a diverse range of techniques including etching and relief printing, rubbing monotype, water color, pastel, and Japanese paper in his work.

For more information on David Freed visit

Shenandoah National Park announces Ride the Drive car-free day

Shenandoah National Park will open the north district of Skyline Drive to non-motorized vehicles only to celebrate National ParkRx Day and National Park Week.

During this event, Skyline Drive will be closed to motorized vehicles from the Front Royal Entrance Station at mile 0 to the Thornton Gap Entrance Station at mile 31.5. The rest of Skyline Drive will remain open to all vehicles. In honor of National Park Week, April 22 and 23 are fee-free days and all entrance fees into the park are waived.

“Ride the Drive” is a pilot event to promote opportunities for alternative modes of transportation and recreation, promote health and well-being, and enhance the visitor experience by providing an opportunity to access the Park in a unique way.

”Ride the Drive” is open to bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles. Registration opens March 10 and is required but does not guarantee a parking space. Registration information can be found on the Park website at  The event begins at 7:00 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. Parking will be in Front Royal at Skyline High School (151 Skyline Vista Drive, Front Royal). There will also be limited parking at Panorama Comfort Station (mile 31.6 Skyline Drive) with overflow at Hearthstone School (11576 Lee Highway, Sperryville).  The Park will not be offering a shuttle service.

To ensure a safe event, all participants will obey the rules of the road, maintain control of their bicycle or non-motorized vehicle at all times, abide by the 35-mile-per-hour speed limit, stay in their lane of traffic, and follow all other Park regulations and policies (i.e., lights in foggy and rainy conditions, etc).

Facilities will be limited:

  • Dickey Ridge Visitor Center (mile 4.6) – restrooms and water
  • Browntown Overlook (mile 14.9) – restrooms
  • Elkwallow Wayside (mile 24) – restrooms, water, and food
  • Elkwallow Picnic Grounds (mile 24) – restrooms
  • Panorama Comfort Station (mile 35.5) – restrooms and water

To prepare for the event, the North District of the Park (mile 0 to 31.5 Skyline Drive) will close to motorized vehicles beginning at 10:00 p.m. the evening of April 22 and will reopen to motorized vehicles at 7:00 p.m. on April 23.

National ParkRx Day is celebrated across the United States to promote the growing movement of prescribing parks and nature to patients to improve human health. It encourages everyone to envision their visits to parks and public lands as very important parts of their physical and mental health.

National Park Week is America’s largest celebration of national heritage. It’s about making great connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations, and enhancing America’s best idea—the national parks!

For more information about Shenandoah National Park, visit the Park’s website at

Dr. Ralph Lecture Series to feature local rabbi

In response to the rise of anti-Semitic attacks across the nation, American Shakespeare Center Co-Founder and Director of Mission Ralph Alan Cohen has invited local Rabbi Joe Blair to participate in the Dr. Ralph lecture preceding the March 9 performance of The Merchant of Venice.

In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare weaves interconnected tales of friendship, love, and family against the backdrop of sharp social intolerance. Shylock, the Jewish moneylender, is both victim and villain in a play that has been used throughout history to incite and advance anti-semitic attitudes but likewise been described as “anti-anti-semitic” by others. “Does this play endorse anti-semitism or interrogate it?” asks Cohen. “Do productions of Merchant perpetuate discrimination? Or do such productions help us see ourselves more clearly?”

Rabbi Joe Blair is the rabbi and spiritual leader of Temple House of Israel in Staunton and Congregation Beth El in Harrisonburg. He attended and graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in Philadelphia, where he earned a Master of Hebrew Letters. He serves as the Administrator and Webmaster for the Jewish Values Online project and as the Assistant Dean of the Gamliel Institute, the leadership training arm of the national organization, Kavod v’Nichum.

Ralph Alan Cohen is Co-Founder and Director of Mission at the American Shakespeare Center and Gonder Professor of Shakespeare and Performance and founder of the Master of Letters and Fine Arts program at Mary Baldwin University. He is the author of ShakesFear and How to Cure It: A Handbook for Teaching Shakespeare. He earned his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College and his doctorate at Duke University and has honorary degrees from St. Lawrence University and Georgetown University.

The March 9 lecture will be an opportunity to discuss the ways in which the controversial play fits into the present cultural moment.

The “Dr. Ralph” lecture begins at 5:30pm on March 9 and is free to the public. More information about the lecture and tickets to the evening performance of The Merchant of Venice can be obtained by calling 1.877.Much.Ado (540.682.4236), visiting, or visiting the Blackfriars Playhouse Box Office on 10 South Market Street in Staunton. Student, Senior, Military and AAA discounts are available.

Staunton Public Library to host play about Carter Stanley

The Staunton Public Library is hosting a performance of a one-man play called A Life of Sorrow, the Life and Times of Carter Stanley on March 8 at 7 p.m.

Carter Stanley was an expressive singer and songwriter. As the front man for the legendary Stanley Brothers duo, he spent the best 20 years of his life pounding the pavement to take his gift to the public. Raised in the coalfields of Appalachia during the hardscrabble days of the Great Depression, his musical expression of choice was a new phenomenon known to many as the high lonesome sound—what would come to be known the world over as bluegrass. He played the music, he wrote the songs, and ultimately, he self-destructed. A Life of Sorrow is the story of one man’s musical journey from the Clinch Mountains of Virginia, around the world, and back home again.

A Life of Sorrow is the creation of Roanoke actor Gary Reid. A bluegrass enthusiast and historian for more than 40 years, he is regarded as the foremost authority on the music of the Stanley Brothers. In 2009, Reid conceived the idea of putting together a oneman show about Carter Stanley. To that end, he took two semesters of acting at Virginia Western Community College and has since appeared in more than 60 productions and events at regional community theaters as an actor, producer, and stage manager and has appeared in several short films and commercials. He was a second place finalist at the 2015 Sounds of the Mountains storytelling competition in Fincastle.

Launched in September 2014, A Life of Sorrow has enjoyed 43 performances at theaters, festivals, libraries, and museums in 10 different states.

As a long-time fan of the music of Carter and Ralph Stanley, Reid has spent years collecting memorabilia of the brothers and has all of their single and album releases as well as some 80 hours of live recordings and close to 500 photos. He has also published the book The Music of the Stanley Brothers which traces Carter and Ralph Stanley’s prolific 20-year recording history.

For more information about the performance, contact the Library at 540.332.3902 or visit

New play Shakespeare’s Sister opening at American Shakespeare Center

The untold, fictional story of Judith Shakespeare, a young woman challenged to reconcile her dreams with the social constructs of Elizabethan London, comes to life at the Blackfriars Playhouse. Relishing its fresh commitment to produce new work using Shakespeare’s staging conditions, the American Shakespeare Center has chosen the new play Shakespeare’s Sister by Emma Whipday to be a part of this year’s Actors’ Renaissance Season. The playwright, Emma Whipday of King’s College London, is joining the ASC actors and director Jim Warren in the rehearsal room.

Judith Shakespeare has one ambition: to be a playwright, just like her famous brother Will. When her debt-ridden father forces her into an engagement, she runs away with the help of dashing actor Ned Alleyn, hoping to join her brother in London. But when Judith arrives in the plague-stricken capital, she finds her brother gone, Ned engaged to another, and her play refused. Judith befriends the women in a local brothel, and together, they decide to stage her play in secret. But Elizabethan London is a dangerous place to perform an unlicensed play. Shakespeare’s Sister is full of ideas and events as relevant to Shakespeare’s London as they are to today’s Virginia: the challenges of making a living, religious extremism, and the conflict between social expectations and individual dreams.  “On top of all that drama, this play is darn funny,” says Co-Founder and Artistic Director Jim Warren.

The Actors’ Renaissance Season is a unique theatrical venture in which the ASC dives deeper into Shakespeare’s staging conditions (leaving the lights on the audience and including them in the world of the play, a troupe of about a dozen actors, incorporating music before and during the show) by also re-creating some of Shakespeare’s rehearsal conditions. With very few group group rehearsals, the troupe of actors take the lead in choosing costumes from stock with the help of costume shop staff and often rehearse with just their cue scripts in hand rather than the whole play like many scholars believe Shakespeare’s troupe worked.

“We’ve been doing a Ren Season since 2005,” explains Warren, “and we’ve continued to experiment with the best ways to combine Shakespeare’s rehearsal conditions with many modern conventions like running a show for three months, which Shakespeare didn’t do. Presenting new plays written for Shakespeare’s staging conditions has been a goal of mine since we built the Blackfriars in 2001. So this year we’re taking the Ren Season experiment to new levels by bringing in a new play to explore with its playwright. Even though we’ve been playing in our Ren Season creative laboratory for over ten years, we’re still searching for new ways to shake things up and delight our audiences.”

Playwright Emma Whipday’s academic interest in Shakespeare’s staging conditions has primed her to fit in perfectly at the American Shakespeare Center. She is a teaching fellow at King’s College London and has published academic research on contemporary performance of early modern drama, staging closet drama, and early modern popular culture, as well as directing two productions of early modern plays as part of her research. Whipday borrows the character Judith Shakespeare from Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, but re-imagines her story to reveal the “familial, societal, economic, and political pressures that shaped her world. We know that some women did perform in Shakespeare’s England,” Whipday says, “but the details of their performances are, for the most part, lost. Shakespeare’s Sister brings to life the early modern theatrical world that fostered Shakespeare’s talent – and in doing so, it imagines the stories of some of the women lost to history.”

Act fast – there are only got 10 chances to catch this exciting and whimsical new play.  You can guarantee your seat for Shakespeare’s Sister by calling 1.877.Much.Ado (540.682.4236), visiting, or visiting the Blackfriars Playhouse Box Office on 10 South Market Street in Staunton.

Premium tickets start at $46. Pre-show lectures take place before the March 2 and March 15 performances. Talkbacks with the cast take place after each Thursday night performance. Residents of Staunton, Waynesboro or Augusta County can take advantage of $18 local rush tickets on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Student, Senior, Military and AAA discounts also are available.