Oregon Stage Works is dedicated to expressing the diversity and spirit of the American character by staging both classic and original works of artistic merit that entertain, challenge, and educate; simultaneously embracing a community of all ages with affordable theatre and enriching educational opportunities.
Led by Producing Artistic Director Peter Alzado, and Board Chairman William Sauers, Oregon Stage Works was established as a tax exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit performance group in October 2002 in response to an outpouring of community support for the creation of a professional theatre company focusing on the staging of developing and master American playwrights. Shortly thereafter, twelve of Oregon Shakespeare Festival's most significant actors donated their time and talents to mount six benefit performances of A.R. Gurney's Love Letters donating the proceeds to help in the creation of Oregon Stage Works.
Since its days as a nomadic theatre company, producing shows at various venues ranging from hotels and restaurants to rental space at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and with over $45,000 in funds donated from community members, theatre artists and foundations, along with the construction of a new theatre in Ashland's Railroad district, the evolution of Oregon Stage Works has been unique.
In 2004, Oregon Stage Works established Ashland Childrens Theatredirected by Kate Sullivan and Eve Smythas a vibrant and important part of its programming. Twenty-six classes including summer camps are offered throughout the year serving over 250 students with 25% of those children participating in its scholarship program. Along with the showcase performances produced after each class session, Ashland Childrens Theatre has also staged a number of productions with students working alongside highly skilled adult actors. Two of these productions were original works written by Co-Director Eve Smythe specifically for Ashland Childrens Theatres students.
|In 2005, the first full year in its permanent home, Oregon Stage Works produced a Main Stage six-play subscription season that highlighted two original works by local playwrights and a series of socially relevant plays including Michael Frayns Copenhagen which won best off-Bardway play of 2006.
In 2006, Oregon Stage Works established its Playwrights' Unit for the development and production of new American plays. This group consists of seven local playwrights, two of whom have won the Oregon Book Award for Drama and one who is a recipient of the Oregon Book Award for fiction. The first project to be mounted out of the Playwrights' Unit was Richard Moeschl's "Arthur's Dreams which garnered the 2006 Oregon Book Award for Drama.
Most recently, Oregon Stage Works won best off-Bardway play of 2008 for "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" and the 2008 USLBA Best of Ashland Award in the theatre category. The U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA) "Best of Business award program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USLBA idenftifies companies that they believe have achieved excptional marketing success in their local communities and business categoy. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community. Today, Oregon Stage Works produces a Main Stage seven play subscription season.
In its short history, Oregon Stage Works has established itself as a powerhouse theatre and an important cultural resource for the region. The company, reminiscent of New York Citys best Off-Broadway theatres, is a unique example of what can be done when people with passion and commitment come together towards a common goal.