Elizabethan Theater Experience

Global Traveler

by Patricia Vanikiotis

My husband and I viewed two very different types of theatrical performances a week apart in the same venue, but we enjoyed each one on its own merits. We are blessed to live a short 30-minute drive from one of America’s oldest Elizabethan theatres and a Tony-awarding winning theater company, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. The company has been producing plays since 1935 and today produces works by Shakespeare, premieres of new plays, musicals and comedies in three venues during a season running from February through November. My favorite stage is also the oldest, although it has seen updates over the years. This is the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre, so named to honor the $3 million grant the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation provided in 1993 to build a roofed pavilion of balcony seating around the original bowl of orchestra seating, which still remains open to the stars.