Oregon Shakespeare Festival Delays Reopening of 2020 Season Until September and Lays Off Majority of Staff

Announcement 3/27/20: Nation’s flagship repertory theatre will offer a Fall programming schedule and focus on funding

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced today it will further delay its 85th season until September 8, due to the impact of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The effect on the organization’s finances has forced OSF to lay off approximately 80% of its full time-staff, artists, and seasonal workers in order to mitigate additional losses. All laid-off company members with current OSF health benefits will have them fully paid for two additional months, with many expected to return to OSF when programming resumes.

“It is with great sadness that we are making these announcements today. The resulting delay in the reopening of our 2020 season has very real financial consequences not only for this organization and our family of staff, artists, and volunteers, but for the city of Ashland, its restaurants, hotels, retail, and other businesses, and the entire Rogue Valley region,” said Nataki Garrett, OSF’s artistic director. “In unprecedented circumstances like this, when all communities are feeling the impact of a global pandemic, it is important to be grounded in our compassion for one another. I know that our community will see OSF through and help us return as soon as possible to the celebration of art we’re known for.”

Beginning September 8 and running through November 1, OSF will present a six-production schedule: Bring Down the HouseParts I and IIThe Copper ChildrenA Midsummer Night’s Dream; and Peter and the Starcatcher, with The Tempest opening in the Festival’s outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre.

To ensure the financial health of OSF, ConfederatesBernhardt/Hamletblack odysseyEverything That Never Happened, and Poor Yella Rednecks, nearly one half of the season’s original programming, will be canceled. In addition to these plays, the Green Show is canceled for 2020.

“We truly regret that so many amazing stories and artistic visions will not be shared with our audiences this year,” Garrett continued. “It is our sincere hope that some of these plays will be part of future seasons at OSF. And when we reopen our doors this Fall, we’ll sing out six exemplary works, six opportunities for our audiences to be renewed by and celebrate the art they love.”

While preparing to reopen in the Fall, OSF will be mounting a $5 million Emergency Funding Campaign to address immediate cash-flow relief due to lost revenue, and to grow digital infrastructure and content.

OSF is asking all current ticket holders for canceled shows, if they are able, to consider donation of those funds at this dire time throughout the arts industry. Patron donations will help pay for the costs of keeping OSF running in its scaled-back capacity as well as digital initiatives, producing the Fall 2020 shortened season, and preparing for the 2021 season.Donate Now

OSF is committed to a better future for the arts by aligning the goals of theatrical art with innovation, engagement, and access for all. Unique partnerships and new initiatives are in the works, such as OSF Digital, that will explore a variety of platforms for continuing to deliver the transformative power of theatre.

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