Annual Ashland Trip is Always an Adventure

By Alexis Rossini, Development Director

“The best Ashland trip yet!,” enthused one of this year’s participants in our third annual trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), which came to a close this past weekend. That was great to hear. Not only do we strive to design a trip inspired by our common love of Shakespeare and the theatre, but we work to provide a unique and insightful experience for our donors. So, it is always gratifying to know that the adventure has been a success.

Mike Ryan and Michael Warren sharing their insight at one of several salons during the trip.

Mike Ryan and Michael Warren sharing their insight at one of several salons during the trip.

This trip was the same as last year’s in that we enjoyed two Shakespeare productions: Julius Caesar and Henry IV: Part One, but it was also very different as well. We expanded the trip by one day, which gave us the opportunity to see three non-Shakespeare productions as well: Shakespeare in Love, Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, and Mojada: a Medea in Los Angeles. The plays are always the highlight, and to enhance the experience further, guests enjoyed insightful salon time prior to the performances hosted by our head dramaturg and textual consultant, Michael Warren and Artistic Director, Mike Ryan. This year, we also added a Henry IV “post-mortem” salon to discuss what resonated, as well as what was surprising or even shocking about the performance.

Audrey Stanley touring the Technical Production Facility's costume shop.

Audrey Stanley touring the Technical Production Facility’s costume shop.

The play may be the thing, but this year we had the added perk of touring the OSF Technical Production Facility in Talent, OR, which exceeded our wildest expectations! The inside of the 70,000 square foot production facility was awe-inspiring. We were offered a rare behind-the-scenes look at what takes to mount 11 shows in rotating repertory over an 8 ½ month, 800 performance season! It was truly remarkable to see complete replicas of the stages where sets were being built, visit the 10,000 square foot costume shop where 50,000 costumes are housed, and meet the craftsmen using 3D printing technology to improve and enhance the technical aspects of productions. As you can imagine, we were like giddy school children on the bus ride back to Ashland.

SCS backstage tour group hosted by OSF’s very own Kate Mulligan who plays Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love.


In addition to the OSF experience, however, the trip provides us with the wonderful opportunity to get to know SCS members in more meaningful ways. Our time together on the bus, over breakfast, and during the Friday night group dinner is always filled with the sounds of laugher and lively conversation. On a personal note, my conversations with our tour guests always reminds me of what an extraordinary, intelligent, and supportive community we have in Santa Cruz. SCS is nourished by our community’s enthusiasm, optimism, and generosity.

Given the great success of our three trips to date, we will continue our travels to Ashland annually in the spring and I hope you will join us in 2018. The limited number of spaces is offered exclusively to our Producer’s Circle members first, and this year the trip sold out in just nine days! If you would like more information about joining the Producer’s Circle, please contact me. The OSF 2018 Season has been announced, and we will reveal the travel dates and registration deadline in November 2017 so stay tuned!