Oregon Shakespeare Festival makes changes for 2019 after wildfire impacts

KTVL / Jennevieve Fong

After a devastating wildfire season, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is making changes to their 2019 season to prepare for any future fires.

This year's extended wildfire season affected many local businesses, but it hit OSF especially hard with ticket sales. The theater company said they lost about $2 million, due to the smoky weather conditions driving away the audience.

RELATED | Wildfires cost Oregon Shakespeare Festival $2 million

Looking forward to next year, communication manager Julie Cortez said they are preparing for possible future fires proactively. Cortez said they scheduled some outdoor shows from July 30 to Sept. 8 to now be indoors to the Mountain Avenue Theatre at Ashland High School. Cortez said this change is not necessarily a bad thing, as it makes production easier for both the crew and cast from having to move from two locations last minutely depending on the weather.

Cortez said a bonus to the changes is that they will now be allowed to offer matinees for the Elizabethan shows, which were not offered for these shows before.

"There's silver linings at time to having to adjust to uncertain conditions and changing realities, so that's a major step we're taking this season," Cortez said about the additional matinees.

Some other changes next year include reducing the outdoor Green Shows from six to four days a week and ending the Green Shows two weeks early.

The first four productions of next year are As You Like It, Mother Road, Hairspray and Cambodian Rock Band.

“The whole season is a phenomenal line up of plays that speak to a wide swath of humanity,” Cortez said. “There’s just a lot of fun, very moving and they run the gamut.”

General ticket sales for the public started on Monday, kicking off the season for the new year in March.

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