The 57th annual season of Green Shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival promises a new lineup of diverse and eclectic performances on the outdoor courtyard stage.

The 57th annual season of Green Shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival promises a new lineup of diverse and eclectic performances on the outdoor courtyard stage.

The Green Shows begin Tuesday, June 1. Showtimes are 7:15 p.m. through Aug. 8 and 6:45 p.m. from Aug. 10 through Oct. 10 every night of the week but Monday. The shows last about 35 minutes and admission is free.

"The Green Shows started back when the festival offered just the Elizabethan Theatre," says Claudia Alick, curator and producer of Green Shows. "Resident musicians, dancers and other members of the OSF company would gather and present early music, or Renaissance music, and morris dancing (English folk dancing) just before the evening plays. These performers would literally 'dance' playgoers into the theater. It gave the patrons a connection to the play."

Ashland resident and former OSF company member Judy Kennedy choreographed dances of the court and country of Shakespeare's day from 1970 to 1997. One group in particular, Terra Nova Consort, emerged from the OSF company performers in 1988, when Sue Carney and Pat O'Scannell began to explore ethnic influences on the performance of early music.

"As the years passed, the shows evolved to include modern dance," Alick says. "During Libby Appel's tenure as artistic director, Dance Kaleidoscope was brought in to work with the Terra Nova Consort to create Green Shows to match the Elizabethan shows."

This year, the Green Shows offer a connection to the plays on the Elizabethan stage and other stages at the festival, as well as a connection to the communities that OSF is such a deep part of, Alick says.

There will be more than 50 acts, and the mix will range from Kidz Klez — a young approach to Old World music — to contemporary Japanese koto music. Local favorites will include Hamfist, Terra Nova Consort, the Rogue Suspects, Duo Flamenco, Ed Dunsavage and Christine Williams, Sarah Jane Nelson, Greta Ogelsby and many more.

To celebrate the festival's 75th year, 75 singers from the Siskiyou Singers will perform; Roberta Burke and other OSF company members will present song and dance numbers from the past 75 years at the festival; and 75 players from the Siskiyou Violins will perform. See the schedule on this page for show times and dates.

"We've kept the heart and the mission of the original shows," Alick says. "I'd like to think that we are metaphorically 'dancing' visitors into our theaters."