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OSF hit hard by COVID

OSF Elizabethan Theatre Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Ashland theater company cancels several shows and events after 15% of performers and understudies test positive

Oregon Shakespeare Festival has canceled performances of four productions through the week as part of a sweeping series of show, event and service cancellations due to “an unprecedented number of COVID cases” among cast and crew.

Canceled through Sunday are OSF’s productions of “The Tempest,” “Revenge Song,” “unseen” and “Dr. G.’s Bingo Extravaganza” — along with all campus tours, education events and Green Show performances — according to an update on the Ashland nonprofit’s website.

Still on as of Thursday were planned performances of “Once on This Island” and “How I Learned What I Learned,” both showing in the Angus Bowmer Theatre, but American Sign Language interpretation won’t be available.

According to a letter co-signed by OSF Artistic Director Nataki Garrett and Executive Director David Schmitz posted on the nonprofit’s website, the decision to cancel shows was not made lightly.

“We want you to know that we take this decision very seriously and understand the impact it has, both within our theater community, audiences and our larger community, including the businesses that we rely on to feed and house our community,” the letter states in part. “When we cancel, we impact everyone.”

OSF’s Safety Team alerted directors earlier this week to “an unprecedented number of COVID cases amongst our casts and crew, attributed to the BA.5 omicron variant,” according to the letter posted Tuesday on the website.

The letter notes that even though OSF has “multiple layers of talented and ready understudies for all our productions,” about 15% of OSF’s performing and understudy company have tested positive.

Those with tickets to canceled shows should automatically have received an email from OSF with options for handling their ticket purchase. Those who have not received an email can call the box office at 1-800-219-8161.

For the latest information on OSF’s performance cancellation and delays, see osfashland.org/en/tickets-and-calendar/performance-status

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.