Oregon Shakespeare Festival says season will make full run after successful fundraising

By Roman Battaglia (Jefferson Public Radio)
Aug. 2, 2023 11:08 p.m. Updated: Aug. 3, 2023 10:57 p.m.
OSF's Allen Elizabethan theater in downtown Ashland, Ore.

OSF's Allen Elizabethan theater in downtown Ashland, Ore.

Jane Vaughan / AP

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s 2023 season will be able to finish out this year thanks to a successful emergency fundraising campaign.


The nearly 90-year-old cultural institution in Southern Oregon has recently struggled with staffing shortages and financial problems.

In April, the theater announced it needed to raise $2.5 million or it would have to shut down the 2023 season. In June, OSF said it had reached that goal, but needed to raise an additional $7.3 million to complete the season.

The theater has relied heavily on ticket sales in the past. But, after the pandemic nearly wiped out that income source, OSF has become more reliant on one-time gifts and grants.

In a Wednesday press release, the company said thanks to high ticket sales, cost reductions and the successful fundraising campaign, the theater will be able to finish this season, which is scheduled to end in mid-October.


Planning for OSF’s 2024 season was put on pause, but the company said it’s now underway again.

OSF Interim Executive Director Tyler Hokama said they’ve been planning for next season since before he arrived on June 1.

“The challenge with repertory theater is there are intricate connections that you have to map between different shows in different theaters to make sure that they all work. So it’s a bit of a Tetris to work out which plays go where,” he said.

Hokama said OSF typically finalizes planning for next year’s season around February or March, but recent challenges have pushed that date back.

“We’ve had leadership changes on both the executive director and artistic side. And so it’s difficult to select a season when that’s in flux,” he said. “And also when we are focused on the financial security for the existing season that makes it more challenging to focus on 2024.”

OSF’s new artistic director, Tim Bond, is expected to start on Sept. 1. Hokama said Bond will also be involved in the planning process for the next season.

Fundraising for 2024 will begin when the details are finalized, including what plays they’ll take on, Hokama said.

According to a July 24 article in the Hollywood Reporter, the theater is looking to raise $12-13 million for the 2024 season. But, Hokama said OSF doesn’t have a final estimate for fundraising yet.

This story has been updated to include new information about planning for the 2024 season.