Due to Popular Demand, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Introduces More Frequent Behind the Curtain Summer Tours

ASHLAND, Ore. — The one-hour Behind the Curtain Summer Tour has proved so popular that the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) has had to increase the event from once to twice a week.


Visitors Discover How Productions are Brought to Life

For an affordable $15 a ticket, theater lovers are given a behind-the-scenes peek at how a production is brought to life by the OSF, one of the largest and oldest professional non-profit theaters in the U.S.A.

Associate Director of Education and Engagement at OSF, Kristen Giroux explains that for every actor stepping on stage there are 20 people involved in the behind-the-scenes process. As the Behind the Curtain tours grow in popularity, Giroux says it is the intention of the OSF to introduce new and innovative changes to the program.

Progress made in that direction can be gauged by the growth of the number of people booking for the tours. In the summer of 2023, the tour was offered once a week and could only accommodate 50 people. Now, by employing more guides, OSF can cope with 200 visitors at a time.


Visitors Gain First-Hand Knowledge of Theater Productions

The tour begins in Carpenter Hall where visitors are divided into three groups, each group visiting the three theaters that form the heart of the OSF complex. Visitors learn how costumes, props and sets are designed and made, as well as gaining first-hand knowledge of how theater productions run smoothly.

In the Allen Elizabethan Theater, visitors learn how microphones were only introduced at the OSF during the late 1980s and early 1990s to enhance the listening pleasure of the audience.

The next learning curve takes place at the Thomas Theater where visitors are taken beneath the stage floor where they learn that a lift is used to transport props to the stage level during a production. Visitors are then shown a display of props and costumes used in earlier productions. They also learn about the props created by designers. For example, bananas appear life-like but are made by casting rubber, while ‘leaded glass’ is created from plastic.

One of the recent tour visitors was avid theater-goer Silvia Cortex of California who, as a former actor, wanted to see first-hand how the OSF ‘did its stuff.’ Another visitor, Melissa Good from Portland, described the tour as ‘one of the better ones.’

The Behind the Curtain Summer Tour takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10.30 a.m. Tickets cost $15 and can be bought online.



The OSF was founded in 1935 by Angus L. Bowmer and can trace its roots to the Chautauqua movement that introduced culture and entertainment to rural areas in the late 19th century.

The first Chautauqua building in Ashland was erected in 1893 and by 1905 could accommodate 1,500 people after the building underwent extensions and renovations. People traveled from Northern California and across Southern Oregon to attend the 10-day theater seasons.




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