Hazardous smoke from wildfires has cost the Oregon Shakespeare Festival about $2 million in losses so far and has prompted the festival to cancel its free, outdoor Green Show performances for the rest of the season.
The Green Show, offered on OSF’s Courtyard Stage six nights a week from June into mid-October, will end on Sunday, according to an OSF press release. The festival remains open and its 10 mainstage plays, including outdoor performances, will continue into October.
Since mid-July, the majority of Green Show performances have been canceled or moved to the indoor Black Swan Theatre because of unhealthy air quality caused by smoke from wildfires burning in multiple states. Over 20 performances of the festival’s three outdoor plays also have either been canceled or moved from the 1,200-seat Allen Elizabethan Theatre to the smaller Mountain Avenue Theatre at Ashland High School.
OSF’s financial losses so far in 2018 due to wildfire smoke are estimated to be about $2 million.
“This was a painful but necessary decision,” Artistic Director Bill Rauch said. “Given the extra resources, time and energy required to repeatedly move outdoor performances to indoor venues, and the financial impacts of smoke-related performance cancellations, we must keep our company’s focus on our 10 spectacular mainstage productions, seven of which are in our two indoor theaters. Our primary priorities are the health of our patrons and staff, the stewardship of this nonprofit company’s resources, and continuing to deliver world-class art to our audiences.”
Rauch continued, “The Green Show is a wonderful platform for diverse artists at various stages of their career to share their artistry, and is enjoyed by our local community and out-of-town guests. For these reasons and more, we look forward to the Green Show’s return in the future, as OSF establishes alternatives that address the challenges wildfire smoke poses for outdoor performances.”
The final Green Show performance of 2018 at 6:45 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, will be by La Victoria, a three-piece, all-female band that plays roots music from Mexico, Latin America and the U.S.