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OSF Receives $80,000 NEA Grant for All-Female Production of THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA

OSF Receives $80,000 NEA Grant for All-Female Production of THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) has been awarded an $80,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the 2014 production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. OSF is one of 886 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant, which will help fund 38 performances as well as surrounding education and audience engagement events for William Shakespeare's comedy of young male bonding and betrayal, which OSF will present with an all-female cast.

NEA Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, "The NEA is pleased to announce that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation's artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape."

"Shakespeare's plays have an expansive humanity that finds strong parallels in the endlessly complex dynamics of our contemporary American society," OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch said. "I am tremendously proud to share with our audiences the bold and surprising all-female The Two Gentlemen of Verona, surrounded by stimulating and interactive education programming. I am hopeful that we will someday look back to this experiment that is OSF's first all-female Shakespeare as the beginning of an ongoing body of work for our company and our audiences."

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is directed by Sarah Rasmussen and presented in the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre, OSF's oldest and largest venue, from June 5 through October 12, 2014.

"Shakespeare has been inspiring conversations for generations at OSF, and the company continues to find new ways to engage audiences via blogs, park talks and conversations with artists," Rasmussen said. "I can't wait to create a production that encourages a spirited response, and I look forward to taking part in the dialogue around our approach to Two Gents. I'm consistently inspired by the enthusiasm OSF audiences bring to the theater, and the intelligent, thoughtful dialogue around the work. OSF truly understands that art is better when we are all invited to be part of the conversation."

Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,515 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $76 million in funding. Of those applications, 886 are recommended for grants for a total of $25.8 million.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, visit the NEA website at arts.gov.

Since its founding by Angus Bowmer in 1935, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has grown from a three-day festival of two plays to a major theatre arts organization that presents an eight-month season consisting of 11 plays that represent a mix of Shakespeare's canon, classics, musicals, and new works. Inspired by Shakespeare's work and the cultural richness of the United States, OSF believes we reveal our collective humanity through illuminating interpretations of new and classic plays, deepened by the kaleidoscope of rotating repertory.

Pictured: Christiana Clark as Proteus and Sofia Jean Gomez as Valentine in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" (2014). Photo: Jenny Graham.

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