OSF's Paul Nicholson Receives Two Theatre Awards

Paul Nicholson, Executive Director Emeritus of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), has been recognized twice this fall for his contributions to the theatrical arts.

In September Nicholson received the American Shakespeare Center's Burbage Award, which honors "a person whose work behind the scenes has advanced the enjoyment of the works of William Shakespeare for the delight and instruction of the world."

In October the Institute of Outdoor Drama-while celebrating its 50th anniversary in Bardstown, Kentucky-presented Nicholson with the Mark R. Sumner Award for his lifetime achievement in the field of international outdoor theatre.

"Outdoor theatre is one of the most challenging environments for producing plays and musicals, and the leaders in this field have succeeded in spite of rain, wind and (sometimes) fire," said Michael Hardy, Director of the Institute of Outdoor Drama. "They are a special breed of artists and managers, and we are proud to salute the best of the best with these awards."

"I am deeply humbled by receiving these two awards as they both reflect the respect of my peers in Theatre," said Nicholson, and added "We never live our lives so that we can win awards, but they sure are lovely to receive at the end of a long career!"

Nicholson retired as OSF's Executive Director in December 2012 after 33 years with the company and continues to serve as Executive Director Emeritus. He is currently consultant on the design and construction of OSF's new production building in Talent, Oregon, where he oversees the day-to-day operations and handles construction issues.

Nicholson is not the first OSF administrator to receive this pair of awards. OSF's first executive director, William W. Patton (who served from 1953 to 1995), was honored with the Mark R. Sumner Award in 1995 and with the inaugural Burbage Award in 2008.

The American Shakespeare Center, located in Staunton, Virginia, explores the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. The company's Burbage Award is named for the famed theatrical Burbage family, which pioneered both the outdoor and indoor theatre of Shakespeare's day and fostered the most successful and enduring of the early modern theatre companies: The King's Men.

The Institute of Outdoor Drama (IOD) is a public service agency based in the College of Fine Arts and Communications at East Carolina University. It provides services to organizations that produce theatre in outdoor settings, including historical dramas, Shakespeare festivals, religious dramas, and musicals and plays. The institute established the Mark R. Sumner Award in 1990 to honor its director emeritus' lifetime contribution to the field of outdoor drama.

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