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Entertainment & Arts

Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s new artistic director will be the first person of color in the post

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Nataki Garrett has been named the sixth artistic director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
(Bill Geenen)

Veteran stage director Nataki Garrett has been named the sixth artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the company announced Tuesday, making her the first person of color to hold the position. She succeeds Bill Rauch, who served as artistic director for more than 10 years.

Garrett most recently served as acting artistic director for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Previously, she was the associate artistic director of the California Institute of the Arts’ Center for New Performance and a former associate dean and head of undergraduate acting at CalArts School of Theater.

Garrett arrives to OSF in April with the title incoming artistic director, before assuming the title and responsibilities of artistic director in August. Garrett will also direct “How to Catch Creation,” which opens in July.

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“She is a rigorous and thrilling artist; a thoughtful, confident leader; and a big thinker,” Rauch said in the announcement. “Nataki’s historic appointment, as an African American woman running one of the largest-budget theaters in the United States, is a direct expression of OSF’s decades-long commitment to helping create a more equitable field.”

Founded in 1935 by Angus Bowmer, OSF is based in Ashland, Ore. Over its eight-decade history, the company has grown to one of the largest nonprofit theaters in the nation, operating on a budget of more than $40 million in 2018.

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