High On Adventure - Featuring Photojournalist Larry Turner

Friday, July 27, 2018

All the World’s a Stage

All the World’s a Stage        

Theater in Southern Oregon


There’s no business like show business. (Irving Berlin—Annie Get Your Gun)


Most community theater participants work for the pure love of show biz (with some paid directors and support staff). The actors and crew volunteer countless hours, their reward being applause, and perhaps a few tips or free tickets. Now, as Berlin adds, “Let’s go on with the show,” and see what’s available in Southern Oregon.



Barnstormers plays in its own theater in Grants Pass. They claim longevity, a continuous theater group since 1952. Early on, they performed plays in parks, schools, and any available venue. In 1962, they purchased and converted a 1925 church building. “Intimate” describes the theater’s 88-person seating capacity. Over its half-century plus history, Barnstormers has produced more than 230 plays. They perform seven shows a year—a musical, a few comedies, some drama, one a little edgy. In summer they do a melodrama.



Camelot Theatre

Camelot Theatre says of itself—“Where Broadway meets Talent” (Talent in location, talent on stage). Look for changes under Shawn Ramagos, the new Artistic Director, including open auditions to attract new actors, expanded stage usage and set design. And, based on survey-expressed preferences, the theater will focus on large scale Broadway musicals, comedies, and a continuation of their exclusive musical spotlights. Camelot is a professional theater with paid actors, an opportunity for actors and theater people starting out. They are also adding benefit nights for local charities and pay-what-you-can performances.



Collaborative Theatre Project

Though only a couple of years old, Collaborative Theatre Project has made a big impact. Patrons enter through a gallery displaying works from local artists, changed with each show to reflect the theme and mood of that specific play. The state-of-the art facility offers LED lighting, comfy seats, assistant hearing devices, and a wine bar for each show. Part of CPT’s mission is to engage the community, which they do with productions in city parks, special events and workshops.



Craterian Theater

The Craterian is a venue and an organization that operates The Craterian Theater at The Collier Center for the Performing Arts. Their intent is to present as many of the performing arts genres as possible—theater, music, dance, and more. They are the home Medford stage for Rogue Valley Symphony, Rogue Valley Chorale and Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, as well as a producing company for Teen Musical Theater of Oregon, Craterian Music Hall, and Next Stage Theater Company. They also host a variety of roadshows.



Oregon Cabaret Theatre

Folks who don’t often go to theater, do choose the Cabaret in Ashland for a fun evening out. People can sit at stage level or in balcony seating, at regular or bistro tables. They have the option of fine dining off a menu while watching a quality show. Cabaret is a professional theater with paid actors, some local, others from places such as Los Angeles and New York. The theater is a family affair, run by husband and wife team, Rick Robinson and Valerie Rachelle.



Oregon Shakespeare Festival

In 1935 Angus Bowmer proposed a two-play, three-day festival during Ashland’s Fourth of July celebration. The city cautiously allotted funds. Today, OSF offers an eight-month run of about 11 plays (Shakespeare, a mix of classics, musicals and world premieres) and employs around 700. While a destination theater, it’s also a large part of the community—people live and work here. OSF works with students and OSU theater classes. Volunteers are highly involved in ushering, post-matinee discussions, the Tudor Guild Gift Shop, the Welcome Center and more. Their Green Show presents free outdoor performances coinciding with the Elizabethan shows, Tuesday-Sunday, 6:45.



Randall Theatre

Randall Theatre (in two locations) desires to take the craft seriously and have fun while doing it. To exceed patrons’ expectations so they’ll leave saying, “Wow!”

Randall no longer operates its Jacksonville theater, but has new space in an historic downtown building, 20 Fir Street, Medford. This 99-seat black-box space (no raised stage or curtain), will serve as their primary venue. They plan a December opening with A Christmas Carol—The Musical. The current 3rd Street location will become the Randall Annex for deeper, more thought-provoking theater.



Ross Ragland Theater

In the late 1980s, the Art Deco style Esquire Theater became the Ross Ragland Theater, a performing arts center that serves South Central Oregon and Northern California. The Ross Ragland’s Outreach and Education program provides curriculum-based cultural experiences for schoolchildren, including matinees and workshops, summer arts classes and a teen theater program. Nationally known musicians, touring theater and opera companies have taken the Ross Ragland stage.



Teen Musical Theater of Oregon

TMTO is the most active under the Craterian’s producing company umbrella. About 3,000 people attend each of their four annual shows. “Starring the future today” is their slogan, a desire to produce professional quality featuring the valley’s youth. They definitely put on a show worth the ticket, but there’s much more to TMTO. Shy kids blossom, capabilities develop. Deep friendships form beyond the stage, transcending some of the usual barriers as young people become each other’s tribe.




UACT, a community-based theater company in Roseburg, produces live theater and provides education and support to preforming arts-related organizations. UACT might be a local resident’s introduction to the performing arts, an exposure to a world beyond their small community. The company performs comedy, drama, musicals. They present at the Betty Long Unruh Theatre. Dr. John Unruh, instrumental in its establishment, lost his wife Betty in the mid-1980s, thus the name.


High schools also put on great plays, as well as Rogue Community College. And check out Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, where you can see plays, musicals, instrumental presentations and dance recitals, or enroll in a class or an academic program.


As the lights dim and the curtain rises (literally or figuratively), settle in and enjoy the show!

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable