Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the news

Lots of theatre journalists and critics went to Ashland this summer. The result has been a stream of stories on one of America’s visionary theatres.

AD Bill Rauch and his team are creating big stuff in the little hamlet of Hamlet. Surely you have been down for a visit this year, yes?

Here’s a few good reads in case you missed them:

8.3.2015 Rob Weinert-Kendt, American Theatre: Bill Rauch’s Oregon Trail, and Mine

8.31.2015 Rob Weinert-Kendt, American Theatre: The History Play That Got Away

9.2.2015 Charles Isherwood, The New York Times: The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Focuses on Diversity

9.15.2015 Rob Weinert-Kendt, American Theatre: Bill Rauch: Oregon Shakes’s “And” Man

Talk of the town: What's going on at OSF these days.
Talk of the town: What’s going on at OSF these days.

THE GREAT SOCIETY at Oregon Shakespeare Festival scores strong review from The New York Times

All the way from that quaint little hick burg theatre town known as Manna-hata (located a mere stone’s throw from Bayonne, New Jersey), Christopher Isherwood touched down in Ashland last week to catch THE GREAT SOCIETY by Robert Schenkkan.

Here’s what he thought.

It’s a pretty strong review.

What does this mean for Northwesterners?

As we have been pointing out for some time, the pending production of both parts of Schenkkan’s LBJ epic in rep at Seattle Rep in November and December is going to be an exciting national theatre event for the 2014-15 season. If we had an official national theatre in America, it would look a lot like this. Coverage in the NYT will only raise the profile.

If you can’t catch it in Ashland before November (where it is selling out), all roads lead to Seattle.

So saddle up – as LBJ might say.

NYT comes to OSF.
NYT comes to OSF.

Excellence in information design meets arts event listings at the New York Times

The New York Times has an entire department devoted to information design and data visualization. So it’s no surprise to find new examples of excellent design work almost daily on their web site.

Whether it’s election results, sales, Olympic times, carbon emissions, or [you name it] – the Times knows how to turn data into insight. And their creations are often works of art as well as analysis. See this overview of their 2012 output if you need some inspiration.

Event listings – and theatre shows in particular – is a personal information design interest of mine. All too often, simply answering the audience member’s simple question “What’s on?” proves much too hard. Either the interface is unbeautiful, or too technical, or larded to the gills with muffler sale offers, discount tanning coupons, etc.

Usually what’s missing is not the data, it’s “the last millimeter”: a simple and attractive user interface on your screen that gives life to the data. That is what makes all the difference.

Clunky web sites that repel rather than attract potential audience members have real world impacts. When it’s harder than it should be to see what’s on, fewer people turn out. These sites also look bad – inadvertently implying the shows advertised are similarly ill-conceived.

It doesn’t have to be this way. And leave it to the NYT to come up with yet another brilliantly simple yet comprehensive way to navigate the full theatre listings of a big international city – and thus remind us how easy this nut should be to crack.

Take a spin on their beautiful interface and see what you think.

The good…

It should be this easy to see what's on.
It should be this easy to see what’s on.

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