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Music, Arts and Culture

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Offers Plays On New Online Video Streaming Service

OSF - a Midsummer Night's Dream
Photo by Jenny Graham.
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. 2020. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival would like its supporters to reimagine theater … online.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to cancel its 2020 season in mid-March. The Festival has had to adjust to the collapse of ticket sales and other normal revenue streams by dramatically reducing its workforce and other costs.

Seeking revenue to replace those sales, the Festival is offering a new streaming media service to provide on-demand video and audio of OSF performances. The service launched Thursday with The Copper Children, one of the plays recorded during the brief opening of the 2020 season. But since the Festival can’t record new shows, future streaming offerings will come from an archive of recordings from previous years.

Communications director CJ Martinez says, "It’s not a replacement for live theater by any means, but it's a way of audience and supporters being able to experience joy of being at OSF from wherever they are."

Martinez says he expects streaming media to be a part of OSF’s future.

Just like a live theater performance, shows will be available on a pay-per-view basis. In addition to full-length plays, the streaming service will also offer conversations, forums, and podcasts that explore the theater experience.

Plans are underway for providing more video offerings in the weeks and months to come.