Every year, guest speakers from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) come to classes, including Shakespearean Literature, at Ashland High School, with Rick Cornelius. Classes learn about the production behind theater and the texts themselves.

Cornelius works with Sarah Langan and the Education Department at OSF to organize the speakers and arrange for the classes to see the plays they are studying. The speakers talk about the plays they are working on and explain their role in the production. The speakers aren’t chosen until the first few weeks of the second semester. “I can’t start coordinating guest speakers until later in the year,” Cornelius said, “It’s the off season, so some people aren’t here. Right now people are just starting to trickle in.”

Each year, Cornelius chooses four plays for the class to study, three of which are always in production at OSF. “Julius Caesar”, “Love’s Labor’s Lost” and “Measure for Measure” are the plays in the program for Cornelius’s classes this season.

The class does, however, come with a fee. It changes every year but always covers the cost of the guest speakers and a backstage tour of the Elizabethan Theater. The tour is given by a member of the Festival and gives the history of the theater, past productions, and talks about plays currently in production. Students also have to pay for their tickets, but they can get reduced prices. “The Education Department is great at finding deals for us,” Cornelius said.

AHS has been working with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the past twelve years, and hopes to continue the relationship for years to come.