Nearest Airport: Medford Airport
What to expect: Expect a small town, with lots of spirit, history, activities, great eats, music and a really safe environment. Also expect some excellent Southern Oregon wines.
What to bring: Camera, walking shoes, relaxed attitude.
When: February - November (please google for latest information)
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is an event occurring every year in the little town of Ashland, Oregon. Ashland, located some 285 miles south of Portland and 350 miles north of San Francisco is a perfect setting for this event.
This event, Tony Award Winning by the way, was founded by Angus L. Bowmer in 1935, and is one of the oldest non-profit theaters in the U.S.
Thirty years ago when the festival first started, it offered only Shakespeare plays for viewing, but today the additions make it attractive and educational to all walks of life.
Starting in mid February and lasting through the end of August, every week brings a different venue of plays, activities, classes and events. Examples of the plays here include The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, Richard III, also by Shakespeare, and Two Gentlemen from Verona. Musicals like Family Album, by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, as well as classes on how to read for a play and much more.
There are three theatre’s participating in the festival. The Angus Bowmer Theater seating 601, and Thomas Theater seating 370 are both indoor theaters. The Allen Elizabethan Theater is an outdoor theater with almost unlimited seating. The indoor theaters were keeping to a size that allows interaction of players and audience. As far as seating, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.
After all, it’s all about the acting.
Between June and October the addition of “The Green Show has gotten much attention. This is a free show offered Tuesday through Sunday outside, offering dance and music with artists from around the world, and some who live right next door.
Another new venue to the Oregon Shakespeare experience is hosting a “Hip-Hop Open Mic Night”. This is when aspiring poets are encouraged to jump up and present their work. This is a free event, and gives someone who loves to write poetry to Hip Hop and opportunity to show what the have to OSF Artists there.
While visiting the town of Ashland, which was originally called Ashland Mills in the 1800’s, there are many other attractions and side trips you can enjoy while in the area. This area has become a well-known wine region, with a wine country trail that’s easy to follow and oh so rewarding by the glass or bottle. Close but is the Historic Rogue River made famous in the hit movie River Wild. You also can take a day trip, driving up to the headwaters of the Rogue River to the Crater Lake National Park, something you will remember forever.
The weather during the Oregon Shakespeare during the spring is pleasant and mild, but it’s suggested to pack an umbrella and or rain jacket. Summers here can get kind of hot but again will cool off in the evening, often requiring a sweater or jacket.
Accommodations in this historic region of the country range from Bed & Breakfast, Country Inn’s, hotels and vacation homes to rent. With Inns like the Alblon Inn, a 1905 farmhouse, or the TouVelle House, a 1916 Craftsman home in the area, you can feel like you are living in time’s gone bye.