ASHLAND, Ore. -- The Oregon Shakespeare Festival on Wednesday introduced the line-up for its 2022 season, one that promises to a return to a year-long run after two seasons curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to more accessible pricing.
OSF said that its emergence from the last two years comes with an "ambitious vision of theatre as an accessible artform" to meet the current moment. Though there will be a robust line-up of stage shows, the 2022 season will continue to feature offerings on O!, the theatre company's digital platform.
“Our 2022 season is dedicated to the artists, all of whom have so much to share after 18 months of crisis, closure, and now rebirth," said OSF artistic director Nataki Garrett. "Each one of these plays and projects represents the desires, the voices, and the passions of truly gifted theatre artists. In this moment of reemergence, I rely on artists because they have their ears to the ground and hearts in their communities. I trust them to reflect our joy, pain, survival and aspirations, both in our live spaces in Ashland as well as globally on O!”
The organization said that it is also changing its practices on pricing and donor programs, navigating away from an industry practice of dynamic pricing which correlated prices to scarcity and popularity. Under that model, OSF said, ticket prices soared every year — reaching 200 percent more than inflation. Now OSF will be focused on accessible prices by dropping the dynamic model and pricing tickets between $35 and $75.
“This is a moment to take bold action to make theatre accessible by lowering barriers for entry. We hope this move inspires people who have been coming to OSF for years and people who have never visited to join us as we create joyful and inclusive theatre in 2022,” said executive director David Schmitz.
Schmitz said that the old model was designed to maximize revenue from loyal OSF patrons, and the more accessible pricing will instead encourage a new generation to get involved with the festival. Membership will also be adapting to the new "Change Makers" program, which OSF says will simplify the donor experience.
As for the 2022 shows themselves, OSF said that the new line-up will combine groundbreaking new works and "non-nostalgic" visions of classic plays.
“This will be my first fully programmed season at OSF, and the diversity of styles, perspective and stories represented here is a true reflection of my artistic vision," Garrett continued. "As our field comes back to life, we must center the artists, nurture their perspectives, and amplify their voices. They will in turn, give us life.”
2021-2022 Season Schedule and Descriptions
Once on This Island: A Musical
- Book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
- Music by Stephen Flaherty
- Based Upon the Novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy
- Directed by Lili-Anne Brow
- April 12 – October 30 • Opening night: April 16 Angus Bowmer Theatre
- Once on a golden and verdant Caribbean island, a little girl is rescued from a disastrous storm by four gods—Asaka, Mother of the Earth; Agwé, god of Water; Erzulie, goddess of Love; and Papa Ge, demon of Death. So starts the myth told in this breathtaking story of Black joy and sorrow, the aftermath of colonization and isolation, and the triumph of love against all forces. Told with Caribbean rhythms and instruments, this Tony Award–winning musical is a testament that a beautiful story simply told has the power to inspire and heal all.
- By Mona Mansour
- Directed by Evren Odcikin
- West Coast Premiere April 12 – July 31 • Opening day: April 16 Thomas Theatre
- Mia, an American conflict photographer, wakes up at the site of a massacre in Syria, not sure how she got there. With her Turkish girlfriend Derya and her Californian mother Jane, Mia must slowly piece together the details of her past to find out what happened. Mansour’s beautifully human and surprisingly humorous play asks what it would mean for our souls—personally and as a nation—if we were to truly see the impact of our actions.
August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned
- Co-Conceived by Todd Kreidler
- Directed by Tim Bond
- May 3 – July 30 • Opening night: May 7 Angus Bowmer Theatre
- Originally performed by Wilson himself, How I Learned What I Learned is a heartfelt theatrical memoir charting one man’s journey of self-discovery through adversity, and what it means to be a Black artist in America. Helmed by celebrated Wilson director Tim Bond, this beautiful solo work brings Wilson’s necessary voice and gorgeous poetry back to OSF.
- by William Shakespeare
- Directed by Nicholas C. Avila
- June 1 – October 15 • Opening night: June 15 Allen Elizabethan Theatre
- For 12 years, banished Prospero has been living on a mystical island and using magic to subjugate its natives. With vengeance weighing heavily on his mind, he conjures a storm to bring ashore a passing ship carrying his enemies, who find themselves at the mercy of his supernatural machinations. Avila’s imaginative production explores the good, the bad, and the gray areas of human nature.
- By Qui Nguyen
- Directed by Robert Ross Parker
- A Vampire Cowboys Creation
- June 2 – October 14 • Opening night: June 16 Allen Elizabethan Theatre
- Buckle up for a musical story about Julie d’Aubigny—a queer 17th-century rule-breaking, sword fighting, opera-singing transgressor of boundaries. It’ll be loud, it’ll be rowdy, and it’ll be hilarious! Nguyen (OSF’s Vietgone and Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon) sets this irreverent take on French history somewhere between the realms of superheroes and comic books and asks what it means to bust through your prescribed roles into who you truly are.
- By William Shakespeare
- Directed by Rosa Joshi
- Presented in association with upstart crow collective
- August 17 – October 30 • Opening day: August 28 Angus Bowmer Theatre
- “Mad world, mad kings, mad composition!” A corrupt monarch faces an unruly court and fights to hold onto the crown at all costs through political intrigue and warmongering. Under Joshi’s muscular and visionary direction, King John features a cast of female and non-gender-binary performers — speaking directly to our current fractured political moment and bringing new meaning to Shakespeare’s powerful play about power itself.
- By Dominique Morisseau
- Directed by Nataki Garrett
- An American Revolutions Commission
- West Coast Premiere August 23 – October 30 • Opening day: August 27 Thomas Theatre
- An enslaved woman turned Union spy and a brilliant professor in a modern-day private university are facing similar struggles, though they live over a century apart. This play by MacArthur genius award– winner Morisseau leaps through time to trace the identities of two brilliant Black women and explores the reins that racial and gender bias still hold on American systems today.
It’s Christmas, Carol!
- A play with lots of songs by Mark Bedard, Brent Hinkley, and John Tufts
- Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh
- November–December 2022 Angus Bowmer Theatre
- On Christmas Eve, three ghosts take miserly businesswoman Carol Scroogenhouse through time and space to reckon with how she’s abandoned humanity for hollow capitalism. Whisked to a Shakespearean theatre, a prehistoric holiday celebration, and a Zombie future, will Carol find her soul with the help of these apparitions? Featuring hilarious songs from the twisted minds of your favorite OSF clowns, Carol! promises to be a fun, uplifting, and music-filled romp.
The Cymbeline Project
- By William Shakespeare
- Conceived by Nataki Garrett
- Created by Scarlett Kim
- O! Digital Stage
- This rarely performed exploration of power and jealousy comes to life in a multi-episode digital production by award-winning immersive artist Scarlett Kim. Created with a collage-like visual approach, Kim’s vision mines Shakespeare’s text to explore the deceit and the violence of the play within today’s aesthetic and political realities.
Films for the People
- Two short films presented by Black Lives, Black Words International Project in association with Oregon Shakespeare Festival
- O! Digital Stage
- Black Lives Black Words International Project, led by Simeilia Hodge Dallaway and Reginald Edmund, partners with OSF to produce "Films for the People," featuring one-person short films by groundbreaking Black writers and creatives. Filmed in beloved Black-owned businesses in Houston and San Francisco/Bay Area, this unprecedented project connects Black arts and the communities they serve to celebrate the talent, resilience, and presence of Black artists, leaders and communities across America.
- An immersive digital festival at the intersection of live theatre and extended reality
- November 2022
- O! Digital Stage
- QUILLS FEST 2022 is an immersive digital festival at the intersection of live theatre and extended reality. Quills is a first-of-its-kind convening of theatremakers, transmedia storytellers, and creative technologists. Connect with artists from all around the world exploring cutting-edge possibilities in storytelling and join a new generation of audiences.