OSF – Interview – DO YOU GO TO PLAYS?

I recently met with Claudia Alick…. osf.. here is the interview.. But I am really curious.. DO YOU GO TO SEE PLAYS? Is So why or Why not? Post below

 This months cover shot is of Claudia Alick: Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s new associate producer of community. I recently met with her at the Roasting Company in Ashland to discuss her job at OSF. Claudia previously lived in New York City where she ran her own production company called ‘Smokin Word’; a hip hop and spoken word theatre group.

1. Can you tell me a little bit about your job, with a specific focus on how OSF is reaching out to build community?

As associate producer, I act as community and education department liaison, collaborate with the Artistic Office in season planning as well as short and long-term artistic goals and plan, curate and produce our pre-show outdoor performance series “The Green Show”.  This years Green Show has been expanded and will include many different acts.  As a liaison to the community, I acted as artistic director to the Ashland Community Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, programming the talent as well serving on the planning committee and helping to produce the event. With The Mobius we are sponsoring a poetry slam and open mic on the first Monday of the month in their new space at Mojo Rising. I also support community arts events as an audience member.  I’ve seen some amazing local artists performing theatre, dancing, poetry and singing. 

Bill Rauch has a passion for connecting to the community and my projects are just a small part of what the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is doing. Alison Carey is participating on conversations with historians and community members about the US History Cycle.  The Festival Latino in July will help connect us to the Latino community throughout the Rouge Valley.  The Green Show is a free show for everyone in the area. We are offering free tickets to veterans with our production of “Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter”.  We also have restructured our price structure to make more affordable tickets available.  People should email or call the Box
Office at (800) 219-8161 or email us at

2. How does your background in hip-hop & spoken word enhance your work with OSF?

In New York I produced theatre projects that mixed genre, audience and performers to create spaces where new work and new communities were built.  For instance, we had a project called the Smokin D’bate that combined Lincoln Douglas debate and freestyle rap battles to provide a space where dynamic political conversation could take place.  The audience was a mix of hip-hop and poetry lovers, as well as a more traditional theatre audiences. In today’s media saturated market I think the future of all live performance is connecting audiences and expanding aesthetic palates.  My work with Smokin’ Word was to demystify theatre for hip-hop practitioners and audience, and to demystify hip-hop for theatre practitioners and audience.

Part of my work at OSF included helping us develop work in new language based structures such as the ever expanding genre of hip-hop theatre. We produced a project called “Mixing Texts: Hip-hop Boot Camp” where we brought together eight internationally recognized hip-hop theatre practitioners with eight OSF company members to explore the conjunction of nexthetics (hip-hop and spoken word aesthetics) and classical theater.  In addition to developing original work, we held a workshop on improvisational performance based in hip-hop and an open mic for community members.  It was such a successful project it’s resulted in the project we’re producing with The Mobius.  We also taped and transcribed round table conversations as well as performances which will be placed on the OSF website and serve as a resource for artists and academics nationally.  This was a powerful and continuing project that connected us to the local community as well as an international community of artists.

3. What similarities do you see between the Rogue Valley and NYC?  You had mentioned that you see Ashland like a
borough would be in NYC. Can you tell me more about this? 

I was raised in Missoula, Montana and lived in both Washington DC and New York City.  I recently relocated here from Brooklyn, and I would always say that New York was like a small town because you couldn’t go through the day without running into someone you knew.  I’ve worked with many communities both rural and urban.  I’ve found the Rouge Valley to be diverse culturally and economically.  The population is invested in the area and connected in unexpected ways.  People live in Talent or Phoenix but work in Ashland, artists live in Ashland and participate in events in Medford. There are things I can’t get in Ashland and can only get in other towns, and the opposite is true too.  Each of these towns has a reciprocal relationship which is challenging, dynamic and potentially very deep.

5. How do you see technology playing a roll in OSF’s community outreach;both present and future? 

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is already working within the vanguard of electronic community building.  We communicate with audience through email notices in a variety of formats; we blog, we have audio and video material on the website and we have localsguide and facebook pages.  The people who participate with this technology are diverse in age, sex, and cultural background.  I think we are always passionate about connecting with young audiences, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that older audience
members too use computers and appreciate our rich content.

8. What’s your favorite aspect of your new job?

I love working with such a talented and professional group of artists. The administrators, actors, designers and directors here are among the best in the business.  I think people like working here because of the environment.  Ashland is attractive, full of friendly smart people and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has fabulous resources.

9. Any message or invitation you would like to extend to the community via LocalsGuide?
I would like to invite people attend our plays, outdoor entertainment,and education events.

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Shields Bialasik

Hi, I am Shields. I am the creator or LocalsGuide. The mission or my company is to provide a positive media platform for my community which in turn makes it stronger and more resilient. I hope you will enjoy and feel inspired to start your own LocalsGuide in your town or community.

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