THRIVE: Culture & Entertainment
Ashland is best known for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but the town and valley abound with live theater and musical performances, as well as cultural and art festivals of all kinds. In addition, Ashland has a museum of art, a science museum, and movie theaters. Local sports teams play in Ashland and Medford.
Ashland is best known for the world-famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival, established in 1935, and seating about 400,000 spectators during the March-October season. Performances in two indoor theaters and the outdoor Elizabethan theater include not only Shakespeare, but also classic and contemporary plays and musicals. In addition, Ashland’s Cabaret Dinner Theater and the 400-seat Camelot Theater in nearby Talent feature a variety of shows all year round, and a number of other amateur groups provide showcases for regional talent.
The Rogue Valley is fortunate to be home to a number of outstanding instrumental and choral groups. Remarkable for a small town, the excellent Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra fills local concert halls to capacity and features world-renowned guest artists throughout the season. The Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, comparable to any big-city choral organization, offer an eclectic repertoire, including commissioned new works by contemporary composers. Chamber Music Concerts offers a series from October to April.
The Ashland Independent Film Festival – the foremost Pacific Northwest film festival – brings audiences and filmmakers together every April through a shared appreciation of the power of independent film. Located in nearby historic Jacksonville, The Britt Festival is the Pacific Northwest’s premier outdoor summer performing arts festival, presenting a signature mix of all genres of music on a beautiful hillside setting under the stars. The Ashland New Plays Festival is an annual playwright competition that culminates in the reading of four new plays, featuring professional actors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the community.
The Schneider Museum of Art, part of the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, features a rotating slate of exhibitions focused on historic and contemporary perspectives of art, as well as on progressive works. The ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum – an engaging science center for children and adults – features nearly 100 interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages and levels of interest.
Local Sports Teams
Ashland residents are enthusiastic sports fans, supporting Southern Oregon University NAIA championship teams in both men’s and women’s sports. The Medford Rogues, a collegiate-level baseball club, plays a regular schedule in Medford during the summer.