Bring on the Bard

January 1, 2018

With scandalous tales of love, betrayal, romance, tragedy and wicked social commentary, William Shakespeare’s plays are just as relevant as when they were written almost 500 years ago. Other literary classics, too, shine on stage as performed by the world-class Oregon Shakespeare Festival theater company, an Oregon tradition since 1935.

Kicking off in February and running through November each year in Ashland, each season brings eleven plays, shown on three stages. With a focus on equity, diversity and inclusion, the nonprofit-led company also creates the space to become fully engaged in the festival through classes, talks and immersive discussions at their Festival Noons or Living Ideas events.

Fans can take advantage of backstage tours (offered Feb. 28 through Oct. 27, 2018) to learn more about the history of the festival and the intricacies of operating a repertory theatre.

And June through October, there’s free outdoor entertainment at the festival’s famous Green Show, with talent from dozens of community groups.

Elizabethan Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival



Ready to bring on the bard? Here are some of the shows in the exciting 2018 season lineup:

Feb. 16-Oct. 28
Othello and Desdemona are determined to overcome all obstacles to love in this intimate tragedy, which asks questions about a society struggling with polarizing differences.

Destiny of Desire
Feb. 18-July 12
Two girls are switched at birth and meet 18 years later, becoming friends and falling for men they’re not supposed to love. This hilarious telenovela-style story is a nod to Shakespeare’s comedies.

Henry V
Feb. 21-Oct. 27
Once a reckless young man, Prince Henry V must become a shrewd, ruthless leader as he lays claim to the French throne — whether he’s ready or not. An intriguing must-see for history buffs.

Sense and Sensibility
Feb. 17-Oct. 28
This adaptation of Jane Austen’s sparkling romance is also a tangle of gossip, intrigue and scandal — a true soap opera for its day.

Others in the 2018 lineup include:The Book of Will,” June 6-Oct. 13; “Love’s Labor’s Lost,” June 7-Oct. 14; “Manahatta,” March 28-Oct. 27; “Rodger and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!,” April 18-Oct. 27; “Romeo and Juliet,” June 5-Oct. 12; “The Way the Mountain Moved,” July 10-Oct. 28 and “Snow in Midsummer,” Aug. 2-Oct. 27.

About The

Jen Anderson
Jen Anderson writes and edits Travel Oregon's e-newsletters and other online content. She loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two young boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.

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Ask Oregon

What Ashland activities do you recommend?

Ashland is our hometown, and we love it! I’m sure you’ll enjoy a visit. Without knowing your interests, I can tell you that we believe the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to be a must-do; this season of high quality plays and performances run nearly year-round and peak in the spring through summer. I recommend seeing at…