: Kim Budd

Bring on the Bard

January 1, 2018 (Updated September 7, 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.

Running February through November each year in Ashland, each season brings 11 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 also take advantage of backstage tours to learn more about the history of the festival and the intricacies of operating a repertory theatre. The season includes sign-interpreted weekends, with ASL interpreters provided for performances like “Snow in Midsummer,” Sept. 14, and “Henry V,” Sept. 15.

Fall just might be the best time to take in a play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It’s the end of the season, when tickets are easier to snag and the cool weather makes a visit to Southern Oregon absolutely sublime. The festival is also offering a special membership deal: join as a new member and receive four 2018 tickets at 25% off. But don’t hesitate on planning your trip — the 2018 season ends in October.


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

Through 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.

Henry V
Through 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.

Rodger and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Through Oct. 27
Set in 1906 Oklahoma Territory, the classic American musical breaks new ground for its 75th anniversary with same-sex lead couples and other LGBTQ2+ casting.

Sense and Sensibility
Through 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; “Romeo and Juliet,” June 5-Oct. 12; “The Way the Mountain Moved,” July 10-Oct. 28 and “Snow in Midsummer,” Aug. 2-Oct. 27.

And it’s not too early to think about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s 2019 season playbill. It will be acclaimed OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch‘s final season at the helm, with an exciting lineup of classics and new plays, including Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” “Hairspray,” “Macbeth,” “Alice in Wonderland,” Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well” and a bilingual translation of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors.”

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…