Ashland High School theater department has much to celebrate

Two veteran directors of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Kirk Boyd and Pat Patton will be in town next weekend for a public party from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 27, at Ashland High School's Mountain Avenue Theatre, 201 S. Mountain Ave., Ashland.

Boyd and Patton paved the way for 15 years of AHS-OSF partnership and influenced its beginning. Boyd directed the first partnership play, "A Company of Wayward Saints" at AHS in 1993 and Patton rallied for the theater students in the midst of AHS budget cuts.

Matthew Smith, AHS thespian in 1993, made the initial connection with Boyd at OSF and the partnership was forged.

Since then, Joan Langley, OSF education director, and all the artistic directors from Henry Woronicz and Libby Appel to Bill Rauch have supported this on-site partnership at the high school.

The AHS Mountain Avenue Theatre is also celebrating its 10-year anniversary. The facility has grown from a 170-seat black box in 1997 to a 415-seat full-fly theater. Russ Otte, retired AHS choir director, will also be present. His tireless support for a larger performance space and his years working on AHS musicals made a difference.

At 6 p.m. in the Rose Studio, AHS theater department will hold a dinner prepared by Tabu Restaurant to honor its directors and mentors. Tickets are $10 and an RSVP is advised.

A presentation will follow in the theater at 7:30 p.m. Directors and mentors who have worked with AHS theater students over the last 15 years will be noted. Several performances and a slideshow of the past 43 shows are slated. Admission is free and all are invited.

Betsy Bishop, theatre teacher at AHS said in a press release, "We are blessed. The halo effect of OSF artists working with our students in the technically advanced 'new' Mountain Avenue Theatre allowed our student talent and imagination to soar. We've been able to think big."

Bishop says over 50 theater alumni since 1993 plan to attend. "It will be fun night remembering the laughter, the tears and the exhilaration of high school theatre."

$10 dinner reservations may be e-mailed to either Lezlie Cross at or Megan Flannery at

For more information call 482-8771.

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