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New director arrives soon

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has made a historic choice for its sixth artistic director, selecting Nataki Garrett, acting artistic director of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, to take over when Bill Rauch departs in August for a position in New York City.

In her more than 20-year career, Garrett has been a theater administrator, director, producer, playwright and educator, among other roles.

Garrett, who was named after a yearlong search, and Rauch form something of a mutual admiration society, praising each other’s work. Rauch said he has known Garrett for 17 years and has “closely followed and admired her career.”

“Nataki’s historic appointment, as an African American woman running one of the largest-budget theaters in the United States, is a direct expression of OSF’s decades-long commitment to helping create a more equitable field,” Rauch said.

In an interview to discuss an OSF play she will direct this year — the West Coast premiere of Christina Anderson’s “How to Catch Creation” — Garrett said she first met Rauch in 2002, and “this being his last year, I really feel honored to be part of this season.”

Now she will not only be part of this season, but of seasons yet to come.

At the end of that interview, taped five months ago, Garrett was asked if she had anything to add.

“I’ve been wanting to come to OSF for my entire professional career,” she said.

“How to Catch Creation” opens July 23. Garrett’s tenure as artistic director opens Aug. 1.