ashland.news
May 26, 2024

Letter: ‘The theater must have an administration that can evolve’

April 19, 2023

As a 30-plus year contributor, attendee, and also recipient of Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s salutary impacts on our community, my first reaction to the recent plea for donations was to immediately send a check, which I did. Next, I settled into several days of reflection on what might be a viable future for OSF and regional theater in general. My thoughts are as follows:

1. The era of video streaming has changed the entertainment landscape and seriously eroded audience size potential for live theater.

2. Live theater is unique in the entertainment arena and an essential element in our world and our local communities. There is still a significant, but downsized, audience ready and waiting to attend shows.

3. OSF and other regional theaters will need to “right size” their operations and budgets to accommodate the changed and changing live performance landscape. This process has already begun with the shrinking of  seasons and number of plays. Now OSF needs to adjust to this smaller performance footprint which apparently is the main focus for the OSF board.

I appreciate the creative work of current OSF producers, directors, cast members and technicians. But inevitably, the theater must have an administration that can evolve and adapt to the reality we now face.  This will require support from everyone who has loved the hundreds of productions, Green Shows, education programs and vibrancy that play makers have brought and continue to bring to our community.

We are going to have to be a bit more patient and very engaged. This is our theater.

Larry Cooper

Ashland

 
 
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