ASHLAND, Ore. (April 11, 2023) –The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) announces the launch of The Show Must Go On: Save Our Season, Save OSF, an emergency fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $2.5M to help complete the 2023 Season successfully. Like other theatres across the country, OSF has been navigating financial hardship since reopening from the closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires. This hardship has led to a gap in OSF’s funding between May and July of this year. To prevent season closure and layoffs, OSF is launching several efforts to save the season and ensure that the company reaches its 90-year anniversary in 2025, and beyond.
“OSF has existed for almost nine decades for a reason,” says Kamilah Long, Interim Director of Development. “This is an economic anchor for the Rogue Valley, a beloved theatre throughout the industry, and a beacon for innovative theatre-making. The Show Must Go On: Save Our Season, Save OSF campaign is just that: A way for everyone who loves OSF to come together, save this theatre that we all love so much, and make sure that OSF shows can go on.”
In addition to The Show Must Go On grassroots campaign, OSF is also launching a transformational gift campaign, aimed at securing large gifts that can help secure and sustain OSF’s future.
“OSF is a national treasure and the Board is hopeful that this campaign will produce the needed funds to enable us to keep offering world-class art to our audiences,” says Board Chair Diane Yu. “We are facing difficult scenarios based on a post-pandemic reality, but we are doing everything we can to prevent these scenarios from happening. Our hope is that everyone whose lives have been touched by OSF and values powerful theatre-making will help ensure its survival.”
This movement to invest in OSF’s future has already begun:
- The Hitz Foundation committed to a $10M multi-year gift, OSF’s very first of that size
- The Mellon Foundation has given $2M
- OSF has already secured $5M in individual pledges towards stabilization
- OSF Endowment Board released $4.5M Endowment Funds in December
- $170,000 pledged by the OSF Board of Directors, including a $50,000 gift from the Board Chair
The next phase of fundraising efforts will be critical as the company also announced additional decisions:
- This year’s production of It’s Christmas, Carol! will be canceled so staff can focus all resources on the 2023 repertory season.
- Planning for the 2024 Season is on hold, pending the results of the fundraising efforts.
- The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors has implemented a temporary management structure and will assume the executive director duties that Interim Executive Artistic Director Nataki Garrett has been responsible for since January so she can focus on the opening of the 2023 Season.
The Show Must Go On grassroots campaign must raise $1.5M by June for the 2023 season to continue. OSF Leadership and Board of Trustees will watch the results of the campaigns closely to reevaluate its financial position in May and to determine what the next steps are.
“Through these campaigns, OSF is calling on benefactors—past, present and future—to help secure the company’s legacy by investing in its future,” says Artistic Director Nataki Garrett.
To donate, go to www.osfashland.org/SaveOSF.