Nothing like a guy dead for 400 years to stir up a little controversy.  But then, William Shakespeare is no ordinary dead guy. 

And he may not be William Shakespeare.  The aptly named Controversy Films recently released "Nothing is Truer Than Truth," which runs with the claim that "Shakespeare" was really Edward de Vere, who hid his true identity because of his bisexuality.

As you survey the current landscape of unscripted "reality" and game shows on broadcast TV, it's hard to imagine the major networks having a fight over Shakespeare.  But they did, way back in radio days. 

Both NBC and CBS broadcast adaptations of Shakespeare plays in 1937, a situation Rogue Valley writer Michael Jensen explores in his book The Battle of the Bard: Shakespeare on U.S. Radio in 1937

Shakespeare’s Hamlet said “Let Hercules himself do what he may. The cat will mew and the dog will have his day.” One of those days was in April, 1981, when the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland needed a dog for the play “Two Gentleman of Verona.”


A highlight of the entertainment season in Southern Oregon is the opening of the Elizabethan Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  It is the heart of the original festival, with plays presented under the summer sky taking stage since 1935. 

The opening is celebrated with an outdoor meal, but also with a church service.  Church?  Yes, 1559 style. 

Trinity Episcopal Church offers a service that attempts to recreate a Church of England service from the time of Elizabeth I. 


Shakespeare scholars and fans are already debating whether "Edward III" is a Shakespeare play.  Did he write all of it?  Part of it?  None? 

The point is moot at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which commissioned a modern-language version of the play as part of its "Play On!" series. 

Octavio Solis got the task of rewriting the play, to be presented Monday (March 27th) by the Ashland New Plays Festival

Re-writing Shakespeare Is Nothing New

Oct 18, 2016

For a guy who's been dead for 400 years plus, we sure talk about Shakespeare a lot.  What can you say: he's still got it. 

Part of Shakespeare scholarship is interpreting his works, and interpreting EARLIER interpretations.  A number of Shakespeare's works were re-written in the 17th and 18th centuries, to "improve" them for the audiences of the day. 

Shakespeare aficionado Geoff Ridden stages examples of the latter-day re-writes at Camelot Theatre in Talent today (October 19th). 

Hip-Hop Poetry On The Shakespeare Stage

Apr 1, 2016

Just because your middle name is "Shakespeare" doesn't mean all your work has to be hundreds of years old. 

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival commits art in a number of avenues, including hip-hop. 

The Hip Hop Poetry Open Mic Nights started several years ago at OSF.  The next, coming tonight (April 4), features Dahlak Brathwaite, who has gained a national reputation for his work (it's free!). 


The world would indeed be a different place if our region's top professional theater were called "The Oregon de Vere Festival."  Who?  Exactly. 

But a surprising number of people insist that "William Shakespeare" was either not a real guy, or not the guy who wrote all those plays. 

The Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship points to evidence that indicates Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, is the true author. 

The Oxfordians invade Ashland this weekend (September 24-27) for their annual conference. 

Before Romeo: A Visit With "Juliet's Nurse"

Jul 22, 2015
Simon & Schuster

The title characters are the big timbers in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet".

But there are other characters who act like the glue binding the play together. 

Those include Juliet's nurse, the main character in the novel called, fittingly, Juliet's Nurse.

Portlander Lois Leveen is the author of this look at one of the legendary settings of Shakespeare from a different angle. 

Shakespeare Comes Alive (In A Sense)

Apr 21, 2015

For a guy who died nearly 400 years ago, William Shakespeare has some serious staying power. 

Southern Oregon University just expanded its Shakespeare focus with the creation of the ShakespeareAmerica Institute. 

Now that institute and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival are joining forces for a symposium called "Much Ado About Shakespeare In Contemporary America," coming May 2nd. 

Delivering Insults With Class

Feb 10, 2014

Did we mention February is big for Shakespeare in Ashland?


We could not resist an interview with the creator of the clever book Shakespeare Insult Generator.  Think of it as “Mad Libs” for insults, using lines and words from Shakespeare plays.