The word that pops up again and again when people talk about Bill Rauch is “passionate.”

In the six years since joining the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as artistic director, Rauch, 50, has brought his passion, experience and considerable energy to Ashland. This earned him many awards— including the Zelda Fichandler Award in 2012 for “transforming the regional arts landscape through imaginative, brave work in theater.”

Under his direction, OSF has expanded its playbill to include classic musicals, global classics from diverse cultures and contemporary work, including plays commissioned by the festival. His brainchild, the ambitious and popular “American Revolutions: the U.S. History Cycle,” envisions thirty-seven new works capturing moments of change in American history. Now in its fourth year, American Revolutions introduces The Liquid Plain, which has already won the 2012 Horton Foote Prize for a promising new American play.

Co-founder of Cornerstone Theater Company in 1986, Rauch spent twenty years on the road and in Los Angeles, collaborating with and directing productions in communities across the country, many of which had limited access to theater.

With eleven plays in this year’s season (February 15 to November 3), two under Rauch’s direction (Cymbeline and King Lear), and a slate of administrative duties, one wonders how he juggles it all. “I am one of the lucky ones who gets paid to do what I love most in the world. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is doing some of the most dynamic, ground-breaking and excellent work in the world right now.”

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Lee Lewis Husk & Jack Despain
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