The country’s oldest Shakespeare festival put Oregon on the map as a world-class theater destination.
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival remains an enduring destination, as one of the few surviving repertory theaters in the United States.
Situated within a stone’s throw of some of the state’s most spectacular rivers, beaches and wilderness areas, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) remains a prime destination for theater-lovers, just as it has for the past seventy-five years.
“If you come here, you have to plan that journey and take the time to reach us,” says associate artistic director, Christopher Acebo. “The act of choosing to come to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival matters, especially in a society that’s moving so quickly.” Acebo credits a history of strong leadership within the organization for successfully ushering the company through the ages.
While festivals showcasing the Bard’s work can seem as common as box stores, only a handful are considered significant, including the Oregon, Utah, Alabama and New York festivals. More than 400,000 visitors a year attend plays at the OSF, which stages eleven plays each season during a run of ten months, a span that well exceeds the summer flings of most other Shakespeare festivals. This is a major boon to Southern Oregon’s economy.
“It’s so much more than just a Shakespeare festival,” says David Ivers, artistic director at Utah Shakespeare Festival, who was hired as an actor for the OSF immediately after college. “It’s the largest regional theater in the country. Because of innovation, leadership, recourses and attention, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has established its place as the ultimate destination regional theater in the country.”