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Encyclopedia > Oregon Shakespeare Festival
OSF Elizabethan Stage
OSF Elizabethan Stage

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is a regional repertory theatre in Ashland, Oregon, United States. The festival anually produces eleven plays on three stages during a season that lasts from February to October. Four to five of the plays produced each year are by William Shakespeare. Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Repertory or rep, called stock in the U.S., is a term from Western theatre. ... Coordinates: Country United States State Oregon County Jackson Settled 1852 Government  - Mayor John Morrison Area  - City  6. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...



A typical season at OSF consists of three plays on the outdoor Elizabethan Stage (aka Allen Pavilion), three in the New Theatre, and five in the Angus Bowmer Theatre. While OSF has produced non-Shakespearean works since 1960, each season continues to include three to five Shakespeare plays. Since 1935, it has staged Shakespeare's complete canon three times, completing the first cycle in 1958 with a production of Troilus and Cressida and completing the second and third cycles through the works in 1978 and 1997. Since 2000, there has also been at least one new work each season from playwrights such as Octavio Solis and Robert Schenkkan. Photo by T. Charles Erickson The Elizabethan Stage is an outdoor theatre in Ashland, Oregon, United States that is one of the venues used by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. ... The 600-seat indoor Angus Bowmer Theatre of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival opened in 1970. ... Sir John Gilberts 1849 painting: The Plays of William Shakespeare, containing scenes and characters from several of William Shakespeares plays. ... A Scene from Troilus and Cressida (1789) by Angelica Kauffmann Troilus and Cressida is a play by William Shakespeare. ... Robert Schenkkan (born March 19, 1953, is an American playwright who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his work The Kentucky Cycle. ...

In addition to the plays, a free outdoor "Green Show" precedes the evening plays from June through September. Until 1996, it consisted of historical Elizabethan music and dancers. More recently, it consisted of three shows in rotation inspired by the plays showing in the Elizabethan Theatre and consisted of live music by the Terra Nova Consort and other guest musicians, and modern dance performed by Dance Kaleidoscope. The Elizabethan Era is the period associated with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603) and is often considered to be a golden age in English history. ...

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival occupies a four-acre campus adjacent to Lithia Park. The primary buildings are the three theatres (The Elizabethan Stage, The Angus Bowmer Theatre, and The New Theatre), Carpenter Hall, and the Camps, Pioneer, and Administration buildings, all surrounding an open central court, locally known as "The Bricks", that includes a performance area for the Green Show and other community events. The festival presents 750-800 performances of eleven plays in three theatres from February through October each year, with a total average audience of 375,000-400,000. Lithia Park green Lithia Park is the largest and most central park of Ashland, Oregon. ...

The company consists of about 325 full-time (including about 90 actors) and 175 part-time personnel supported by some 600 volunteers.[1]


The festival traces its roots to the Chautauqua movement of the late 1800s. In 1893, the citizens of Ashland built a facility that hosted its first performance on July 5. The building was expanded in 1905, and in its heyday, accommodated audiences of 1500 for appearances by the likes of John Phillip Sousa and William Jennings Bryan during annual ten-day seasons. Chautauqua (pronounced ) is an adult education movement in the United States, highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. ... is the 186th day of the year (187th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... John Philip Sousa John Philip Sousa (November 6, 1854 - March 6, 1932), is probably the most famous marching band conductor (although his band rarely marched) and composer in history. ... William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) was an American lawyer, statesman, and politician. ...

In 1917, a new domed structure was built at the site, but it fell into disrepair after the Chautaqua movement died out in the 1920s. In 1935, the similarity of the remaining wall of the by now roofless Chautaqua building to Elizabethan theatres inspired Southern Oregon Normal School drama professor Angus L. Bowmer to propose using it to present plays by Shakespeare. Ashland city leaders granted him a sum "not to exceed $400" (the equivalent in 2005 of $5600) to present two plays as part of the city's Independence Day celebration. However, they pressed Bowmer to add boxing matches to cover the expected deficit. Bowmer agreed, feeling such an event was in perfect keeping with the bawdiness of Elizabethan theatre, and the performances went forward. Confidently billed as the "First Annual Oregon Shakespearean Festival", Bowmer presented Twelfth Night on July 2 and July 4, 1935 and The Merchant of Venice on July 3. Reserved seats cost $1, with general admission of $.50 for adults and $.25 for children (the equivalent in 2005 of $13.80, $6.90, and $3.45). Ironically, it was the profit from the plays that covered the losses the boxing matches incurred.[2] English Renaissance theatre is English drama written between the Reformation and the closure of the theatres in 1642. ... Southern Oregon University is a university in Ashland, Oregon. ... Photograph by Hank Kranzler Angus L. Bowmer was the founder of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, United States. ... In the United States, Independence Day (commonly known as the “Fourth of July,” “July Fourth”, the “Glorious Fourth”, or simply the “Fourth”) is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. ... English Renaissance theatre is English drama written between the Reformation and the closure of the theatres in 1642. ... Malvolio and Olivia, in an engraving by R. Staines after a painting by Daniel Maclise. ... is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ... Portia and Shylock (1835) by Thomas Sully The Merchant of Venice is one of William Shakespeares best-known plays, written sometime between 1596 and 1598. ... is the 184th day of the year (185th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

The festival has continued ever since, excepting a few years while Bowmer served in World War II, and quickly developed a reputation for quality productions. In 1939, OSF took a production of The Taming of the Shrew to the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco, California that was nationally broadcast on radio.[3] A second playhouse, the indoor Angus Bowmer Theatre, opened in 1970, enabling OSF to expand its season into the spring and fall; within a year, attendance tripled to 150,000. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Taming of the Shrew by Augustus Egg The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy by William Shakespeare. ... Aerial photo of Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island. ... “San Francisco” redirects here. ...

Bowmer retired in 1971, and leadership of the festival passed to Jerry Turner, a respected actor/director and later a translator of Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg. Turner opened OSF’s third theatre, the Black Swan, in 1977, and festival attendance soon reached 300,000. In 1983 OSF won a Tony Award for achievement in regional theatre. Five years later, the Oregon Shakespearean Festival was renamed the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. At the invitation of the City of Portland, from 1988-1994, OSF established a resident theatre in the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, which later spun off to independence as Portland Center Stage. Those six seasons ran from November-April, and company members worked often in both cities. Jerry Turner served as artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival from 1971 – 1991. ... Ibsen redirects here. ... August Strindberg Portrait of August Strindberg by Richard Bergh   (January 22, 1849 – May 14, 1912) was a Swedish writer, playwright, and painter. ... What is popularly called the Tony Award (formally, the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre) is an annual award celebrating achievements in live American theater, including musical theater, primarily honoring productions on Broadway in New York. ... Nickname: Location in Multnomah County and the state of Oregon Coordinates: , Country United States State Oregon County Multnomah County Incorporated February 8, 1851 Government  - Mayor Tom Potter Area  - City 376. ... The Portland Center for the Performing Arts is a collection of small- and medium-sized venues for live stage, concerts, cinema, small conferences, and similar events. ...

Turner retired in 1991 and actor/director Henry Woronicz took control for five seasons. 1992 saw the opening of the Allen Pavilion, which encircled the open-air seating area within the walls of the Elizabethan Theatre. Henry Woronicz (b. ...

When Woronicz left in 1996, OSF recruited Libby Appel from the highly respected Indiana Repertory Theatre, and a guest director at OSF from 1988 to 1991, as artistic director. In 1997, the OSF-commissioned The Magic Fire was presented at the John F. Kennedy Center and named by Time among the year's best plays. In 2001, the ten millionth ticket to an OSF performance was sold. In 2002, the New Theatre replaced the Black Swan as the venue for small, experimental productions in a Black box theatre.[4] In 2003, Time named OSF as the second best regional theatre in the United States.[5] This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Indiana Repertory Theatre is a theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana that began as a genuine repertory theatre, with its casts performing in multiple shows at once. ... The Kennedy Center as seen from the Potomac River. ... Time (whose trademark is capitalized TIME) is a weekly American newsmagazine, similar to Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. ... The black-box theatre is a relatively recent innovation, consisting of a simple, somewhat unadorned performance space, usually a large square room with black walls and a flat floor. ...

On Appel's announcement of her intention to retire, Bill Rauch, former artistic director and co-founder of the Cornerstone Theater Company, in Los Angeles, was selected to become the festival's fifth artistic director, beginning with the 2008 season. Rauch, who had directed plays previously at OSF, hopes to make direct connections between classic plays and contemporary concerns, to reach beyond the Western canon to include Asian and African epics, to initiate a series of original plays focusing on American history, and to connect with youth. ref>Shakespeare (2007)</ref> Bill Rauch succeeded Libby Appel as the fifth artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in June 2007. ... Cornerstone Theater Company is a theater company based in the United States that specializes in Community-based Collaboration. ... Nickname: Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates: , State County Settled 1781 Incorporated April 4, 1850 Government  - Type Mayor-Council  - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa  - City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo  - Governing body City Council Area  - City  498. ... The Western canon is a canon of books and art (and specifically one with very loose boundaries) that has allegedly been highly influential in shaping Western culture. ... World map showing the location of Asia. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ...

OSF campus

Elizabethan Stage

Main article: Elizabethan Stage (Oregon Shakespeare Festival)
Campus of OSF[6]

Photo by T. Charles Erickson The Elizabethan Stage is an outdoor theatre in Ashland, Oregon, United States that is one of the venues used by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ...

Angus Bowmer Theatre

Main article: Angus Bowmer Theatre

The 600-seat indoor Angus Bowmer Theatre of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival opened in 1970. ...

Black Swan

The Black Swan served as the festival’s third theatre from 1977 to 2001. The building, originally an automobile dealership, was bought in 1969 as a second-floor scene shop and first-floor rehearsal hall. Company members began using it to stage "midnight" readings for one another. They invited friends who brought other friends. Artistic Director Jerry Turner recognized the opportunity to take risks with unconventional staging and subjects, and called for its development as a third OSF theatre. Fitting a theatre into the existing building was challenging. It could hold only 138 seats, all within five rows of the stage. There had to be, as designer Richard Hay put it, a "certain amount of tucking and squeezing." Each director had to solve the problem of an immovable roof support in the middle of the stage. In one scene, with a horizontal piece added, it became a painting of a crucifixion. Typical car dealership selling used cars outside, new cars in the showroom, as well as a vehicle entrance to the parts and service area in the back of the building. ... A scene shop is a special workshop in many medium or large theaters. ... Crucifixion is an ancient method of execution, where the condemned is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead. ...

New Theatre

New Theatre stage
New Theatre stage

In March 2002, the New Theatre replaced the Black Swan, which again became an ancillary building for rehearsals, meetings, and classes. It expands the possibilities for experiment and innovation while maintaining the intimacy of the Black Swan. Thomas Hacker and Associates of Portland designed the building. Richard Hay designed three possible seating and staging modes. In Arena mode, a stage of 663 square feet is surrounded on all four sides by 360 seats. In Three-quarter Thrust mode, a 710-square-foot stage is surrounded on three sides by 270 seats, and in Avenue mode, a 1236-square-foot stage provides 228 seats on two sides. There is a trap room under the stage and a fly loft at one end. A computer controls 300 circuits and over 400 lights of various types. The remainder of the building is given over to downstairs and upstairs lobbies, concessions, access distribution, archives, storage, laundry, green room, quiet green room, warm-up room, dressing space for 18 actors, showers/restrooms, costume and wig rooms, stage manager’s office, maintenance space, storage for props and set pieces, and trap. The "Bricks" ties the three theatres together into an architectural whole and facilitates movement. It also provides a stage for the nightly Green Shows from June through September.[7] Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (892x594, 568 KB) Summary New Theatre, Newtown, NSW. 542 King Street. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (892x594, 568 KB) Summary New Theatre, Newtown, NSW. 542 King Street. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Parts of a theater. ... A fly tower is a part of a theatre above the stage where flat scenery in the form of gauzes, cloths and flats are stored and flown in when needed. ... For the music studio, film or online magazine named The Green Room, see The Green Room A green room is a room in a theater, studio, or other public venues for the accommodation of performers or speakers when not required on the stage. ... Part of the stage managers panel at Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts Stage management is a sub-discipline of stagecraft. ...

Other buildings

The Festival acquired the Administration Building (G) in April 1967. It houses the Box Office (H), artistic, business, communication, education, human resources, marketing, and volunteer offices, the scenic design studio, and the mailroom. The Festival Welcome Center (I), on the northern side of the building facing Main Street, offers information about OSF and Ashland, houses a small exhibit of costumes from past shows, and adjoins the Margery Bailey Room, otherwise known as the Education Center. The adjacent Camps Building (K) houses the membership lounge, development offices, and a meeting room.

Just off the courtyard, the Pioneer Building (L) houses the Festival’s costume and costume props shop. The staff of over 60 creates the costumes in three main studios on the lower floor of the building. Also on that floor are offices and fitting rooms for the costume designers and costume design assistants, a costume props area and a vented paint room. Upstairs is a dye room, lounge, laundry, storage room, and office. During the height of the costume production each season, another working studio is open in the basement of the Angus Bowmer Theatre. Costumes from past shows are warehoused off-campus in a 7500 square foot facility housing some 15,000 costumes and 10-15,000 costume props such as armor, boots, crowns, shoes and wigs.

The Festival acquired Carpenter Hall (M) in October 1973, renovating it to accommodate lectures, concerts, rehearsals, meetings and Festival and community events. The Bill Patton Garden (N) provides the venue for informal summer noon talks by OSF staff. The Tudor Guild, a separate non-profit corporation, operates the Tudor Guild Gift Shop (J) and Brass Rubbing Center (O) where visitors can make rubbings of facsimiles of 55 historic English brasses under expert guidance.

Educational programs

OSF offers educational programs for individuals and students, much of it in close cooperation with neighboring Southern Oregon University. OSF actors, directors, designers, dancers, dramaturges, and voice and text coaches work regularly with SOU faculty in Dance, English, Music, and Theatre Departments. They teach classes on specialized aspects of play production such as Elizabethan music, masks and movement, physical comedy, Renaissance dance, Shakespearean costume, stage combat, and theatrical makeup. OSF’s resident composer directs SOU’s music composition program. The SOU Theatre Department teaches an OSF Plays in Production course and its spring Shakespeare Symposia help prepare local audiences and area teachers for each season. OSF provides internships for seven to ten SOU theatre majors each year in areas such as dramaturgy, lighting and sound, properties, scene painting, and performance and OSF company members help SOU students preparing for their University/Resident Theatre Association auditions. Southern Oregon University is a university in Ashland, Oregon. ...

SOU faculty members contribute to OSF publications, write about it for national and international publications, and are frequent speakers at the OSF noon lecture series. Its music faculty members often play in OSF performances and Green Shows. SOU provides OSF staff with faculty library privileges. Its Schneider Museum offers special exhibitions related to OSF, such as Richard L. Hay's scenic designs in 2001 and "Shakespeare as Muse" in 2004.


OSF is a non-profit corporation managed under US and Oregon law by a 32-member Board of Directors nominated and elected for eight-year terms. OSF is supported in part by corporate and individual donors through annual non-voting memberships at various levels, planned giving, or direct support of specific plays. In 2006, the endowment had a net worth in excess of US $30 million that returns about $1.2 million to support the operating budget of about $24 million per year. It is managed by seven trustees who are selected for five-year terms by the Board of Directors.

Professional staff

Apart from approximately 90 actors and 25 musicians and dancers, OSF is organized into administrative, artistic, education, music and dance, and production staffs.

The Executive Director supervises an administrative staff of approximately 125 people. They include human resources (which includes the volunteer and special events coordinator), information technology, marketing and communications (box office, membership, publications, archives, media, members lounge and audience services which itself includes house managers, ushers, concessions, access staff for handicapped patrons), physical plant staff (custodial services, maintenance, security), and receptionists. Associate producers, voice and text director, resident designers and design assistants, designers, guest directors, composers, choreographers.

The artistic staff of approximately 100 is under the direction of an artistic director and includes an associate artistic director, composers, choreographers, dramaturges, designers and design assistants, directors and assistant directors, and voice and text director, approximately half of whom are guests for a single season.

The production staff of approximately 125 is responsible for costumes, lighting, properties, scenery, sound, and stage operations. Costumes are produced by a staff of about 70 (artisans, cutters, designers, dyers, first hands, hair and wig specialists, stitchers, technicians, and wardrobe managers). Scenery is built by a staff of technicians, carpenters, a welder, an engineer and a buyer and moved by a crew of 24 stagehands; lighting staff number 8, and sound and properties each are managed by staffs of 6 each. A production stage manager, eight stage managers and three production managers ensure the smooth operation of the three theatres and a deck manager coordinates the Green show.

The education staff of 9 includes the director and associate director, education coordinators and assistants, curriculum specialists, and resident teaching artists. Twelve actors participate in the annual School Visit Program and about a dozen company members and guests assist in teaching for the programs described above. In addition, the FAIR manager recruits college and university students from across the United States for internships (described above) on the administrative, artistic, education, and production staffs.


A full-time coordinator manages some six hundred volunteers who provide over 33,000 hours of service each year. Forty-five percent of the volunteer effort comes from nearly 200 volunteers who staff the Tudor Guild, which was established in 1948 and incorporated in 1952 as a separate non-profit volunteer support organization for OSF. It runs the Brass Rubbings Center and the Tudor Guild Gift Shop and satellite operations, contributing about $250,000 annually to OSF.


All playgoers receive a Playbill with a synopsis of the plays, cast lists, and director's statements. All members receive prologue, [sic] a magazine with selected articles on directors, actors, costumes, props, and plays each season. illuminations [sic] is a comprehensive guide to each year's plays that includes synopses, themes, information on playwrights and historical and other contextual information to better understand the plays themselves.

Finally, detailed information on the plays and OSF itself are included in the annual Souvenir Program. It includes photographic highlights of each play and special articles along with pictures and biographies of actors, playwrights, and the many people who work behind the scenes. A chart emphasizing the repertory nature of OSF lists all the actors and their parts in the plays.

Professional memberships

OSF is a constituent of Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for the not-for-profit theatre world, and a member of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America. It operates under contracts with Actors' Equity Association, The Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Inc., an independent national labor union. The Theatre Communications Group is an organization dedicated to the promotion of non-profit professional theatre in the United States. ... The Shakespeare Theatre Association of America (STAA) was established to provide a forum for the artistic and managerial leadership of theatres whose central activity is the production of Shakespeares plays; to discuss issues and share methods of work, resources, and information; and to act as an advocate for Shakespearean... The Actors Equity Association (commonly simply Equity) is the trade union of American theatrical performers and stage managers. ...

See also

  • Production history of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Production History of plays performed by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (1935-Present). ...


  1. ^ Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The People of OSF: Our Company Members
  2. ^ Archives (2005)
  3. ^ Tradition (2005)
  4. ^ Tradition (2005)
  5. ^ Zoglin, Richard (May 27, 2003). "Bigger than Broadway!". Time. Retrieved on 2007-08-23. 
  6. ^ Key: A-Elizabethan Stage/Allen Pavillion, C-Angus Bowmer Theatre, D-Black Swan Theatre, E-New Theatre, F-The Bricks, G-Administration Building, H-Box Office, I-Welcome Center, J-Tudor Guild Gift Shop, K-Campus Building, L-Pioneer Building, M-Carpenter Hall, N-Bill Patton Garden, O-Brass Rubbing Center
  7. ^ Shakespeare (2007)

is the 147th day of the year (148th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Time (whose trademark is capitalized TIME) is a weekly American newsmagazine, similar to Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 235th day of the year (236th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  • Oregon Shakespeare Festival (official website)
  • Maps and aerial photos for 42°11′46″N 122°42′54″W / 42.1962, -122.7151Coordinates: 42°11′46″N 122°42′54″W / 42.1962, -122.7151

  Results from FactBites:
CityBeat: Ashland Oregon Shakespeare Festival (2001-07-19) (1174 words)
OSF surveys reveal that the 88 percent of the festival-goers travels more than 125 miles to see several shows, typically staying for a few days in one of the town's quaint bed and breakfasts or in one of several hotels.
OSF's mission is "to create fresh and bold interpretations of classic and contemporary plays in repertory, shaped by the diversity of our American culture, using Shakespeare as our standard and inspiration." During my stay in Ashland, I saw three Shakespearean productions and three contemporary shows demonstrating OSF's application of this mission to recent plays.
I have a feeling that OSF might benefit from additional outside energy, be that in the form of guest directors or occasional guest actors from outside their very fine acting company.
Traveling Today: The Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Where There's A Will, There's A Play (1017 words)
The Festival, as it's known by locals, started out 65 years ago in Ashland, Ore., when Angus Bowmer, a teacher at what is now Southern Oregon University, decided to create "America's first authentic Elizabethan theatre." Since then, OSF has gone on to become the second largest repertory theatre in the world.
Inspired by similarities between sketches of William Shakespeare's original Globe Theatre, and the remaining walls of a torn down performance house in Ashland, Bowmer staged what he insisted be called "the first annual" Oregon Shakespeare Festival in July 1935.
OSF designers use it for all it's worth, staging sensory-rich productions, and bringing to life those plays which are brilliant primarily for their simplicity.
  More results at FactBites »



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