Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s artistic director Bill Rauch has been awarded the Ivy Bethune Award by Actors’ Equity. The award recognizes individuals and organizations that show support for diversity and inclusion in the Western Region when it comes to hiring, casting, and producing.
“Bill Rauch is a fearless advocate for social justice, dedicated to including all humanity in his work,” said Barbara Roberts, second vice chair of Equity’s National EEO Committee. “He exemplifies equal opportunity in his hiring practices, engaging with storytellers from all walks of life. We’re thrilled to honor him with this year’s Ivy Award.”
Rauch is now in his 11th season at OSF, during which the organization has made efforts to increase racial representation onstage. The acting company is now approximately 70 percent people of color.
Founded in 1935, OSF has developed from a three-day festival to a nationally renowned organization which presents an eight-month season of classic works, musicals, and new plays. The festival now draws crowds of more than 400,000 annually and the company’s play commissioning program has seen the creation of works like the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat and the Tony-nominated Indecent.
“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by AEA,” said Rauch. “Building on many decades of work by our predecessors, I accept this award on behalf of the entire company of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and especially the many individuals across the organization who have demonstrated leadership in the essential work of equity, diversity and inclusion.”
OSF’s 2018 season programming will kick off with Shakespeare’s Othello beginning February 16. For more information visit OSFAshland.org.