Oregon Shakespeare Festival Green Show performers will have a new stage when they begin entertaining audiences again during the coming theater season.
OSF removed the old Green Show stage in its central courtyard after the close of the 2013 season and has purchased a new one for approximately $16,000, said OSF Associate Producer, Community Claudia Alick.
"After many, many years and wonderful, generous support, we were able to get a brand new stage," she said.
Stories about the history of the old stage vary at OSF, but Alick said it was likely built about 20 years ago and was intended to be temporary.
The new stage has arrived and is in storage, she said.
With its modular design, OSF workers can stack it in sections for storage and arrange it in different configurations for performances.
The stage will likely be set up in the courtyard in May — in time for the June 3 kick-off of the Green Show, which features a broad variety of free outdoor performances.
The Green Show traditionally launches when OSF begins offering plays in its outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre.
Well before then, the 2014 OSF season begins on Feb. 14 with a performance in the indoor Angus Bowmer Theatre. Performances will start in the intimate indoor Thomas Theatre on Feb. 20.
Preparatory work for the installation of the new Green Show stage will continue over the next month-and-a-half, Alick said.
That work will include trenching in the courtyard for new electronics that will support performances.
The new stage will accommodate performers in wheelchairs more easily, and the electronics work will reduce the amount of equipment that has to be moved back and forth, Alick said.
By the time audiences arrive in mid-February, she said construction work will be done and visitors will see an open, beautiful courtyard.
"We plan to leave the stage out of that space for as long as possible to see how people are enjoying that open space," she said.
Meanwhile, OSF has no immediate plans to tear out the brick courtyard and redesign the area.
Some residents have raised concerns that the sloping, uneven, slippery brick surface is hazardous and fails to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In April 2013, OSF received a $1 million donation from Ashland residents Judy Shih and Joel Axelrod to support new works, education and a redesign of the courtyard, which is known as The Bricks.
OSF officials said half of the donation would be used to redesign the courtyard.
OSF Media and Communications Manager Amy Richard said on Friday that The Bricks redesign is among projects of top priority at the festival.
Work on a new Talent production building is finishing up and work on a Hay-Patton rehearsal center will begin this summer, Richard said.
The Bricks project will follow, but additional funds need to be raised and the work has to be undertaken during an off-season, she said.
Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.