ASHLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) has decided to cut short their outdoor Green Show season due to ongoing poor air quality from wildfire smoke. The announcement came in a statement issued on Thursday evening.
Typically, Green Show performances take place in OSF's Courtyard six nights a week throughout the summer and into mid-October. This year the season will end on Sunday, August 26 with a performance from La Victoria—a three-piece, all-female band playing roots music from Mexico, Latin America and the U.S.
“This was a painful but necessary decision,” said OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch. “Given the extra resources, time and energy required to repeatedly move outdoor performances to indoor venues, and the financial impacts of smoke-related performance cancelations, we must keep our company’s focus on our 10 spectacular mainstage productions, seven of which are in our two indoor theatres."
The organization estimates that their financial losses due to wildfire smoke in 2018 have reached $2 million so far.
"Our primary priorities are the health of our patrons and staff, the stewardship of this nonprofit company’s resources, and continuing to deliver world-class art to our audiences,” Rauch said.
Since wildfire smoke began having serious impacts in the Rogue Valley back in mid-July, most Green Show performances have either been cancelled or moved indoors. Over 20 performances of the Festival’s three outdoor plays have also either been canceled or moved from the 1,200-seat Allen Elizabethan Theatre to the smaller Mountain Avenue Theatre at Ashland High School.
Despite the Green Show cancellations and enduring poor air quality, the Festival remains open and its 10 mainstage plays will continue into October.
OSF’s full 2018 playbill includes Othello, Sense and Sensibility, Destiny of Desire, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! and Snow in Midsummer in the Angus Bowmer Theatre; Henry V, Manahatta and The Way the Mountain Moved in the Thomas Theatre; and Romeo and Juliet, The Book of Will and Love’s Labor’s Lost in the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre.