Thanks to passions for theater, William Shakespeare and collaboration, Shakespeare Iraq will perform at 7:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 7-8, on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Green Show stage, 15 S. Pioneer St., Ashland.
Shakespeare Iraq is a group of students from the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani. The students represent a mix of North and South, Sunni and Shia, Arab and Kurd cultures — extremely different communities in a diverse nation.
July 6 — White Snake Ensemble: Musicians from OSF's "The White Snake" present classical world music.
July 7-8 — American University of Iraq-Sulaimani Shakespeare Company.
July 10 — Jill and Daryl Hoops: Physical comedy, stilt dancing, accordion and saxophone.
July 11 — René y Grant: Andalusian/flamenco rock.
July 12 — Cabaret music by Sarah Jane Nelson and Darcy Danielson.
July 13 — Sean Forbes: Hip-hop and rap in American Sign Language.
July 14 — Magic Morgan and Liliana: Illusions, balloon sculptures and stunts with live animals.
July 15 — Sean Forbes
July 17 — Sarah Jane Nelson's Back Porch Blues with Hawkeye Herman.
July 18 — BROTHER: A Celtic tribal celebration.
July 19 — Sarah Jane Nelson and Hawkeye Herman.
July 20 — René y Grant: Andalusian/flamenco rock.
July 21 — WINGS Performing Arts presents Mississippi music.
July 22 — Dancing People Company.
July 24 — Dance Kaleidoscope: "Romeo and Juliet Fantasy."
July 25 — Dance Kaleidoscope: "Celebrating Motown."
July 26 — Dance Kaleidoscope: "Romeo and Juliet Fantasy."
July 27 — Living History Lectures: "Learning Among the Oak Groves."
July 28 — Dance Kaleidoscope: "Celebrating Motown."
July 29 — Living History Lectures: "From the Streets of Shakespeare."
July 31 — Deathrow Tull: Acoustic soul, funk, rock, hip-hop and improvisation.
Last year, Shakespeare Iraq mounted the first English-language Shakespeare production in Iraq's history. Performed in a public theater, the single show received a standing ovation.
Director Peter Friedrich, an American-trained actor and a teacher at the American University of Iraq, was interviewed on Truthdig.com after the production. Friedrich said it was his dream to bring the students to the U.S. for a collaboration with an American Shakespeare company.
Friedrich met with OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch last summer to discuss the idea, and a plan was hatched to bring the Iraqi troupe to Ashland.
The biggest obstacle was funding the trip. Friedrich came up with a successful Kickstarter campaign as the solution.
The Green Show features a diverse lineup of artists for pre-show performances on the courtyard bricks at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Shows are at 7:15 every night except Mondays through Aug. 5; and 6:45 p.m. Aug. 7 through Oct. 14. The shows last a little over a half-hour and are free.