ASHLAND, Ore. — Although the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is still only beginning performances for its 2019 season, the creative leaders are already looking ahead to the next season — and particularly the fact that it will be under brand new leadership.
Bill Rauch will leave OSF after a 12-year run as the festival's artistic director. He's heading to New York in August to helm a new performing arts center on the grounds where the World Trade Center once stood. He said he never planned on leaving OSF — in fact he wasn't even looking for another job but couldn't pass up this opportunity.
"I realized it was a once and a lifetime opportunity and that I needed to give it a try," Rauch added. "We're going to try to make work that inspires hope and brings people together across all of out differences there at the World Trade Center."
Nataki Garrett will be his successor for the 2020 season and beyond. She comes to OSF after leaving the Denver Center for the Performing Arts as the Associate Artistic Director and Acting Artistic Director.
"She is the ideal person to be running the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I've known her for 17 years. She's an incredible arts leader, great artist, cares deeply about community and people. She's just going to take this organization into the future in a beautiful way," Rauch said.
Over the next four months, Garrett will learn from Rauch and every other hand that plays a part in OSF.
"I'm praying for less smoke. I'm praying for inspiration. I'm praying for guidance," Garrett said. "I'm also humbled and honored to be on that path and to be invited into this opportunity from OSF's board and the search committee that saw fit that I was the one to lead us into the next horizon."
Although she will be the artistic director for the 2020 season, the season's line-up was chosen before she came to the company. Regardless, she is excited and thrilled to be a part of the OSF community and the Rogue Valley in general.
For more from Garrett, listen to the interview below from OSF or visit her page on the festival's website here.