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Thespians honor Hay for work with students

Richard Hay has earned international accolades for his work as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s set designer and technical director. Now he’s being honored for his work with Ashland High School.

The International Thespian Society has recognized Hay and two others as Honorary Thespians for their work as volunteers. Hay was recognized for his work as the volunteer advisor and sponsor of the high school’s theater department.

A press release from the society said that the award recognizes “individuals who have gone above and beyond in their role as a volunteer. This award honors those adults who have selflessly given their time and ability to help a Thespian or Junior Thespian troupe with set construction, chaperoning, fundraising, advocacy, and more.

Hay has been supporting the Ashland High School theater department, home to Thespian Troupe 4630, for more than 20 years. He is directly responsible for the focus and design of the theater space at the school, advising Troupe Director Betsy Bishop in advocating for and building the new space in 1996. Since then, Hay has not only donated over $16,000 to the theater program, but has continued to advise and support the program artistically.

“I consider Richard Hay to be Ashland Theatre’s true ‘theatre angel,’” Bishop said in the release. “He never misses a show or an opportunity to support young artists. My students are amazed and inspired by him.”

Hay joined OSF in 1950 at the behest of his friend Bill Patton, who went on the become the festival’s executive director. OSF’s rehearsal space is named the Hay-Patton Rehearsal Center in their honor.

Among his many achievements, Hay has designed a set for every play in the Shakespeare canon at least twice.

He has designed more than 250 productions for the festival, as well as productions for the Denver Center Theatre Company, Portland Center Stage, the Mark Taper Forum, American Conservatory Theater, the Old Globe, Berkeley Rep, the Guthrie Theater and the Kennedy Center.

In his more than 60 years at OSF, Hay created the design or was the principal influence for all three of OSF’s theaters. He’s also designed such theaters as the new Old Globe in San Diego and The Source and Space theaters in Denver.

The International Thespian Society, which was established in 1929 and has 2.3 million members, is the honor society for middle and high school drama students.

The society also recognized as Honorary Thespians Tiffany Crain and Marie St. Ives, co-presidents of Leavenworth High School theater department’s parent booster club in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Richard Hay is pictured above the{ } Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Elizabethan Theatre stage in 2014. Mail Tribune file photo