Mar 30, 2010

Bulking Up, Not Paring Down

An excellent NPR piece about Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Money quote (emphasis mine):
A bump in donations, and record-high sales at the box office, meant that in the end OSF finished in the black; in fiscal year 2009, the company spent just a little less than the $26.6 million it had originally budgeted, employing more than 100 actors and 400 designers, crew and staff in the process.

That's the kind of outlay it takes to put on multiple plays, simultaneously, almost year-round, says Paul Nicholson, the theater's executive director for 30 years.

"This year we've got Pride and Prejudice, which has a cast with 19 or 20," Nicholson says. "We've got Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and that's got a cast of 13 or 14. We'll do a Shakespeare, typically, with 18 to 25 people — but we'll do four, sometimes five Shakespeares. And then beyond that you've got the other classics."

But scaling back, he says, is not an option for the OSF.

"Most theaters are having to pare down, and most are paring down on the work on stage," Nicholson says. "That's not the way to go."

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