Shakespeare Festival casting for volunteers

The historic "America's First Elizabethan Theatre" sign welcomes visitors to Oregon Shakespeare Festival's landmark outdoor theatre. Graham Lewis photo
April 16, 2022

Hoping to bring on board a full crew for first full season since 2019

By Julia Sommer for Ashland.news

A new, full season of programming is underway at Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the first time in two years.

Previews of two shows, “Once on This Island” in the Angus Bowmer Theatre and “unseen” in the Thomas Theatre, began Tuesday, April 12, with official openings set for Saturday, April 16.

Sarah Grulikowski

And starting Monday, April 18, OSF welcomes aboard new volunteer coordinator Sarah Grulikowski, who had been volunteer and programs coordinator for ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum.

She’ll be rebuilding a volunteer corps that stood at more than 700 volunteers when COVID-19 pandemic closures began in March 2020.

With 11 productions set for this year’s April-December season, with four shows in the Bowmer, two in the Thomas, two in the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre and three offered on the “O! Digital Stage,” the call for volunteers has gone out.

OSF volunteers may currently sign up for shifts via a new system, VicNet, for four jobs in Bowmer and Thomas in April and May: access booth, access door usher, courtyard greeter, and vaccination card checker.

Once the Elizabethan Theater opens June 1 with “The Tempest,” the usual cohort of ushers and ticket-takers will be needed. For more information, email osfvolunteers@osfashland.org.

Volunteers must be vaccinated and boosted and are required to wear masks in April; masking requirements thereafter will be determined as needed.

As of April 8, 304 volunteers had signed up.  One week after VicNet went live, 170 of 180 April shifts were filled, as were 141 out of 265 May shifts.  

Tudor Guild will be staffing pop-up gift shops and, come June, hosting the popular backstage tours. Soroptimists will resume blanket and pillow rental at the Elizabethan.

Volunteers are required to give 45 hours to qualify for free tickets the following season, up from the previous 30. Volunteers who qualified during the 2019 season for 2020 comps will be offered tickets to selected 2022 performances.

Online IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access) training is required this year for all volunteers before their first shift. 

OSF Executive Director David Schmitz, who came on board in September 2020 after serving as executive director of Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, says: “We wouldn’t be able to function without volunteers.  They’re an integral part of the operation, and a wonderful way to stay connected with the community.”

Email freelance writer Julia Sommer of Ashland at juliamsommer@gmail.com.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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