Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Creating Access for All (2017)

Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Creating Access for All (2017)

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In 2017 the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) in Ashland, Oregon was immersed in a multi-year campaign to renovate its courtyard, the Bricks. The Bricks served many purposes - a general place of gathering for staff, the entryway to the festival’s theaters, and the site for an artistic showcases series called the Green Show that ran prior to the OSF’s ticketed productions. While anyone could watch the Green Show, it was particularly beloved by the local community, who gathered most nights to watch the free performance. However, due to heavy use and the passage of time, the Bricks had become increasingly uneven and inaccessible. A project to renovate the courtyard had been unsuccessfully pitched since the 1990s and, finally, 2013 new donors gifted the festival with the funds needed to start the campaign.

General Manager, Ted DeLong, served as project manager for the construction portion of the campaign, which unfolded in three phases over several years. The third phase was anticipated to launch 2017 but Delong was concerned about how to fund the final leg of the project. At this point, the project was about $850,000 shy of its $5.1 million goal. Two other recent OSF construction projects, a rehearsal facility in Ashland and a production facility in Talent, Oregon, had been partially funded by donors and subsidized with a loan. The festival couldn’t afford to take on more debt so soon after completion of those structures. Moreover, a majority of festival visitors lived outside of Ashland and were less motivated to support a project that had no discernible impact on what they saw on the professional stages. The campaign team, comprised of the Marketing and Development departments and led by Director of Development Torrie Allen, needed to find a way to spark interest in the Bricks project across the entire donor spectrum. As the 2017 season opening drew closer, both DeLong and Allen were anxious to move the campaign smoothly towards completion.

Publication Date: 2019 - 05 -15

Suggested Citation: Lisa D. Richardson, "Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Creating Access For All (2017)," Yale Theater Management Knowledge Base Case Study #17-87, May 15, 2019

Keywords: Oregon, Audience, Accessibility, Community, Donor Relations, Facilities, Fundraising, Performing Arts

Teaching Note: Yes (contact yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu