In a first for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a five-day series of events paying tribute to the Hispanic/Latino culture is planned Wednesday, July 23 through Sunday, July 27 on the OSF campus.




Festival Latino is the realization of a dream by new Artistic Director Bill Rauch and the OSF company to celebrate Hispanic/Latino culture and to offer open captions in Spanish of OSF performances.




"In the past there had been some simultaneous translations using headsets with actors live in the sound booth," said audience development associate Freda Casillas. "It was really challenging to do. We could deliver more if we went to the open-caption route."




Open caption is similar to the subtitles or supertitles used in opera performances. OSF will be using LED reader boards for certain plays during the festival.




"The impetus was to invite our neighbors and to open to folks who have never been here before," Casillas said.




The OSF plaza will be decorated in festive Latino style. There will be free outdoor performances of music and dance by local and regional artists, as well as performances by students from Guanajuato, Ashland's sister city in Mexico.




A number of educational events will be offered in both English and Spanish. These events include Park Talks, a lecture by playwright Luis Alfaro and a midnight performance of Alfaro's work, prefaces to the plays, backstage tours and workshops. Bilingual materials will be available and Spanish-speaking volunteers will be on hand. Food will be for sale from the Tacos El Gallo food van.




Event sponsors include the National Endowment for the Arts, the Oregon Arts Commission, the Ford Foundation and local community partner La Clinica del Valle.




For more information about Festival Latino, call Freda Casillas at 482-2111, ext. 242, or e-mail fredac@osfashland.org or call 482-4331.