There’s an 80-year-old tradition in southern Oregon that has visitors flocking to the small, artsy city of Ashland. And, surprisingly, it has nothing to do with pioneers, covered wagons, or geographic beauty. Rather, it’s an attraction for lovers of the performing arts.
Yes – I’m talking about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
One of the biggest draws to that part of the state, the festival annually produces 11 plays on three stages from February to early November. All 37 of Shakespeare’s plays have been performed by the regional repertory theatre since its founding in 1935. And while contemporary works are now in the mix, visitors can expect three to five Shakespearian works each season.
How one experiences the festival is going depend on a slew of factors – when in the season one drops by, side trips planned, tours booked and which plays are attended. But a couple of pieces of advice apply season-round:
1. Book ahead. The festival is renowned for its solid-to-spectacular performances, which means tickets are snapped up quickly. So grab tickets weeks to months ahead, and don’t expected a guaranteed free spot on the green.
2. Mix it up. Don’t sell yourself short by watching just one play. Try to attend one open-air performance, maybe under the stars, and then see an intimate play indoors. You’re in Ashland for the theater – drink it all in.
3. Explore Ashland. There’s fascinating history and contemporary fun in this small town. It’s brimming with art, legends, cosmopolitan restaurants and relaxing spas. There’s plenty to see and do besides sitting in theater seats, so don’t forget to hit the town.
Note: Tickets need to be purchased for most full-length shows. Learn more here: