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Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Resignation
Festival spokesperson Octavio Solis, an OSF Board Member, will assist the artistic leadership team and identify a new creative director during the transition. In Medford, writer and director Solis works. According to Paul Christy, president of the OSF Endowment Board, Solis will enable the organization to move forward without interfering with the current season.
“Having Octavio here is like the best possible situation because he’s been on stage, behind the scenes, and hired directors,” Christy added. “He is aware of all the planning and preparation that goes into the performances.” Garrett’s resignation occurs as the company attempts to raise money to sustain the current theatrical season and the business overall.
In a written statement, Garrett didn’t give a specific explanation for quitting the company. For our theaters to continue, our industry is at a turning point where outmoded economic methods must change, according to Garrett. The opportunity to rebuild in a fashion that reflects where we are now and where we want to be in the future, with actors, staff, audiences, and creative leaders who reflect the variety of our nation, is presented by these obstacles, though.
This is what makes me happy. I came here to complete this assignment. For the 2023 season to be completed and avoid layoffs, OSF must fund $2.5 million. In anticipation of the fundraising effort, the organization has already put preparation for the 2024 season on hold. By the end of the month, it is anticipated to announce the season’s next steps.
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The theater stated it had already received over $1.4 million in gifts and wanted to raise the $2.5 million amount by mid-July, as first reported by The Oregonian this week. The COVID-19 pandemic severely affected OSF, and Garrett guided the organization through layoffs, organizational restructuring, and fundraising efforts to preserve the 88-year-old theater.
In the history of the theater, Garrett was the first Black female artistic director. She also disclosed last year that while residing in Ashland, she had received racist slurs and death threats. Because of the threats, she was compelled to travel with a security detail. Southern Oregon’s theater is a popular tourist destination. OSF Board Chair Diane Yu praised Garrett’s efforts to promote performance venues, equity, and diversity at the organization.
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The Board appreciates Nataki’s contributions to the development of theater and for strengthening OSF’s position as a national leader among theater organizations, Yu stated. According to Endowment Board President Christy, the festival will have a chance to evaluate its essential services and principles due to Garrett’s departure.
He remarked, “Nataki has put out some concepts that we weren’t able to implement and that we want to. “Should we have performances all year long? Should we perform over the holidays? Christy stated that Garrett concentrated on bringing in new and younger audiences, which he believes they should keep doing. Garrett and Yu both turned down requests for interviews.
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