OSF community dialogue series continues Saturday

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival hosts the last of this year's events in its first "Living Ideas: Art and Community Dialogue Series" Saturday in Ashland.

The conversation about "Does Economic Recovery Help Everyone?" will be led by a panel made up of state Rep. Peter Buckley, Court of Appeals Judge Darleen Ortega, OSF Playwright-in-Residence Luis Alfaro, and Dr. Linda Wilcox Young, economics professor and chair of the Economics Program at Southern Oregon University.

It's intended to be in exploration of issues raised in "Sweat," an American Revolutions commission, which explores how a Pennsylvania city is impacted by layoffs, outsourcing and factory closures in the local steel industry. In partnership with the Jackson County Library System, Living Ideas will look at similar effects in timber industry communities of Oregon and the Northwest.

During the Great Recession, unemployment rates skyrocketed nationally up to 10 percent. Oregon exceeded that rate with an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent, while Reading, Pa., the town in which Sweat is set, was deemed “the nation’s poorest city.” Although unemployment rates have decreased in both states, a significant portion of both populations are still unemployed, work multiple part-time jobs, or have exhausted unemployment benefits.

The discussion is scheduled for 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, in the Thomas Theatre, 40 South Pioneer St., Ashland. The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available by phone at 800-219-8161 or go to www.osfashland.org/productions/2015-activities-and-events/living-ideas-interactive-debate.aspx to reserve a free seat.

The debate will also be streamed live on Google+ (http://bit.ly/1GdZyGB) and YouTube (http://bit.ly/1jpx0QA).

According to an OSF statement, the series of conversations "seeks to forge connections between individuals and communities through collaborative programming driven by the works on the Festival’s stages."

Events have been held in Medford and on the OSF campus.

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