Celebration open house set for Friday

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Archives is holding an open house from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 5, in the Angus Bowmer Theatre lobby. Executive Director Cynthia Rider will offer a champagne toast at 5:30 p.m.

The reception celebrates a recent $200,000 award from the National Endowment for the Humanities to fund a three-year project, "Digitizing and Creating Access to the Audiovisual Collection in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Archives."

The event will also recognize the work of former OSF company member Carl Ritchie — actor, director, playwright and public relations director from 1957-1967 — who is responsible for cataloging OSF's audiovisual collection in the late 1990s.

In the lobby, exhibits of original archival materials celebrating OSF's historical audio collection in connection with Ritchie's work will be on display.

Between 1996 and 1998, Carl listened to, cataloged and wrote a detailed review of nearly 2,000 audio tapes dating from 1950 through the 1990s. His 900-plus pages of typewritten notes are now in the OSF Archives and are packed with OSF history and personal anecdotes.

Ritchie was instrumental in the development of the NBC Radio broadcasts that earned national acclaim for the festival in the 1950s through the 1970s. He went on to create several radio documentaries about OSF's work, including the 1972 Peabody Award-winning "Conversations with Will Shakespeare and Certain of his Friends."

The NEH grant will enable OSF to preserve and make public its audiovisual collection. The deteriorating reel-to-reel tapes, 8 mm and 16 mm films and other aging and obsolete audiovisual formats are in immediate need of digitization.

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