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SummerArts: Theater

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Ashland, OR)

15 South Pioneer Street
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(February 17 – November 4, 2012) Theater lovers by the thousands descend on the little mountain town of Ashland every year to take in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, one of the longest-running and most respected of the nation’s many tributes to the Bard. Winner of the 1983 Regional Tony Award, the OSF has dedicated itself to presenting the finest productions of Shakespeare’s work (the entire canon has already been produced three times since OSF’s birth in 1935), plus productions of new plays, revivals, classics of the Western world, and works that reflect the theatrical traditions of other parts of the globe.

The Festival operates from February to October, in three theaters: the outdoor Elizabethan, the 600-seat Angus Bowmer (named for the OSF’s founder), and the smallest space, the New Theatre. To get the most authentic Oregon Shakespeare Festival experience, you’ll want to come in the warmer months (but avoid the sweltering ones), when you can see Shakespeare in the Elizabethan Theatre, relax in Lithia Park’s Japanese garden, and appreciate the full beauty of Ashland by trying outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and white-water rafting.

Of course, the less adventurous are welcome to skip the kayaking in favor of visiting an art museum or two, reveling in the ambience of one of the local bed-and-breakfasts, and going on OSF’s excellent backstage tour. If trekking to Ashland seems like a pretty big trip just to see a few plays, the regulars who visit from all over the country yearly insist it’s worth the effort and that once you go, it’s likely to become a habit.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Information

  • Public Transportation: Fair (a short walk from RVTD bus 10 at the Ashland Springs Hotel stop. You can also use the Cascade Airport Shuttle and Taxicab service to get around locally)
  • Handicapped Accessibility: Excellent. Complimentary audio description for the visually impaired (with two weeks advance notice); complimentary large print and Braille Playbills; service animals are welcome; Assistive Listening Devices; OTRS; 9 scheduled sign interpreted performances; and 24 scheduled open captioned performances
  • Performances/Programs: 12 shows per season with multiple performances of each. Performance schedule is Tuesday–Sunday
  • Ticket Prices: Regular $21–$86; Youth (6–17) $21–$60; Members $21–$52; Preview Performances $21–$69; Backstage Tours Adult $13, Youth $9
  • Group Discounts: Groups of 15 or more receive discounted tickets
  • Membership: Sustainer ($60–$149); Donor ($150–$299); Patron ($300–$599); Benefactor ($600–$1,249); Producer ($1,250–$2,999); Producers’ Circle ($3,000–$5,999); Chautauqua Guild ($6,000–$11,999); Chautauqua Guild Circle ($12,000–$19,999); Artistic Director’s Circle: Production Partner ($20,000–$49,999); Artistic Director’s Circle: Production Sponsor ($50,000–$69,999); Artistic Director’s Dircle: Lead Production Sponsor ($70,000+). Member benefits are tiered with every member receiving advance ticket purchasing privileges; a 40% discount on tickets in spring and fall (After March 1, discount is 25%); special member rush! tickets; ticket refund and exchange privileges; 10% off any purchase at the Tudor Guild Gift Shop; access to the Gertrude Bowmer Members’ Lounge; a free subscription to Prologue, the OSF member magazine; and the ability to register for OSF Institute classes before the general public.