Geoff Ridden

Classical Music Host | Jefferson Journal Contributor

Geoff Ridden moved to Ashland in 2008, after retiring as a full-time academic in England, to join his wife, who teaches at SOU . He got in touch with JPR shortly after settling here, and has been a volunteer on the Classics and News service since 2009, hosting First Concert and Siskiyou Music Hall when the regular hosts are away.  He is also writes regularly for the Jefferson Monthly.

Geoff has taught at SOU and works with groups attending the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He has also performed with the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers and the Jefferson Baroque Orchestra. He writes reviews of the OSF's Shakespeare productions for the online journal Early Modern Literary Studies.

Geoff and his wife count themselves fortunate to have bases in Jackson County and in England -- that means that they can see their granddaughters regularly (if not as frequently as they would like).

OSF | David Cooper

In this my second and final piece on Bill Rauch, I want to concentrate on his legacy. As he prepares to leave OSF, two of the initiatives begun during his time here look to be assured of a future.

Photo Courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Festival

It was a sunny October afternoon when I arrived for my appointment with Bill Rauch. I was early and, as I waited, I saw Bill walk from the Admin building to the Bowmer and reappear ten minutes later.

Jenny Graham | Oregon Shakespeare Festival

As I write, the 2018 OSF season is drawing to its close, and a sad close at that. The heavy financial losses resulting from smoke-affected performances have brought in their wake a restructuring process which has led to the loss of some sixteen positions among the company.

Although turnover in staff is inevitable in such a large organisation and will often be welcomed, in this case the speed of the change and its enforced nature is a cause for considerable concern, not only for those directly affected but for the OSF community as a whole. 

Jenny Graham | Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Snow in Midsummer?” said the lady at the box office as she handed me my tickets, adding “I wish!” 

And there was a certain irony in the fact that the final production of this OSF season which is concerned, among other things, with strange weather phenomena, should open when the Rogue Valley was experiencing the uncomfortable and dangerous effects of heat and smoke. Indeed, as audience members walked into the Angus Bowmer Theatre, signs outside informed us that the outdoor production that night had been cancelled.

Jenny Graham | Oregon Shakespeare Festival

I’m not a great fan of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s adaptations of English novels. It is difficult to encompass the narrative scope of a novel in two hours traffic on the stage—and then, there are the accents: I sit in the darkness hoping that all will be well, and that the actors will have found a way to sound English. (I actually spend a good deal of time in the theatre being anxious—I so want productions to succeed.—but more of that anon.)

Independents’ Day

Mar 1, 2018
Photo courtesy of the Ashland Independent Film Festival

Richard Herskowitz is excited.

The Artistic and Executive Director of the Ashland Independent Film Festival talks with energy and enthusiasm about the upcoming seventeenth season, his third in charge. Despite his busy schedule, he is on time for our meeting, generous with information (he emails me with a follow-up before I’ve even left the room) and unfailingly courteous—he checked the time only once, right toward the end of my appointment, before rushing off to his next meeting—and genuinely seemed interested to know who I was and why I was involved with this story. 

Photo Courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Either you are early for the theatre performance or you have time during the intermission, and decide not to switch on your cell phone for those all-important calls which have come in during the past hour, and you find yourself, instead, reading the Playbill.

For the most part, the Playbill makes sense. You know what the actors and musicians do – they have been onstage in front of you. And you have a fair idea of other roles, like director, designer, composer, stage manager etc. But ‘dramaturg’? What does a dramaturg do (and how do you even pronounce the word?

Jenny Graham | Oregon Shakespeare Festival

There is a special pleasure in being in the audience for the opening of the Elizabethan Theatre at OSF. For many people, open air Shakespeare is the very heart of the Festival, tapping into its historical roots. For others, it is an opportunity to dress up, to catch the first Green Show, to see and to be seen!

This particular season of plays under stars began with The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Dawn Monique Williams, a production which was a complete delight, a riot of color, of energy and of joy. 

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Gentle readers. Thank you so much for stopping by. I have been writing about plays and books for decades but, until this moment, only for academic journals which, for the most part, have provided me with no feedback. Now, dear readers, I have you, and I thank you in advance for letting me know what you think: my email address is at the foot of this piece.

I’m conscious of following in the footsteps of the wonderful Molly Tinsley who has written with such distinction in this journal and its predecessor. And so, with no little trepidation, I plunge into my task.

Photo: Bushnell-Perkins Studio

The thought of reviewing the range of non-professional theatre in the Rogue Valley, and pondering the question of what community theatre might be, has always intrigued me. Bear with me as I explore the rich history and bright future of community theatre, nestled right here amidst the peaks and valleys of the Siskiyou mountains.

2013 proved to be a difficult year for me because several of my friends passed away, in England and here in the state of Jefferson. Among those I lost in this area are two men who made significant contributions to music: Jim Rich, who led the Jefferson Baroque Orchestra (JBO), and JPR’s own Brad Ranger.

Best Albums Of 2013

Nov 26, 2013

JPR music hosts take a stab identifying standout recordings of 2013.

Don Matthews | Classical Music Director & Host First Concert

A Sharp Divide

Feb 1, 2013

You may find this hard to believe, but I did actually study music in my youth. It was the principal focus of my academic work until I was in my late teens, and I played first violin in the school orchestra. So significant was music in my life at that time that, when I set off for university, my parents believed that I was training to be a music teacher.  I wasn't.  I went to read English, and I have never played in an orchestra or lifted a violin in anger since.