Director, The Great Society
Bill Rauch became OSF’s fifth artistic director in 2007, after several seasons at the Festival as a guest director. In a total of 12 seasons here, he has directed three world premieres, All the Way, Equivocation and By the Waters of Babylon, and 15 other plays: King Lear, Cymbeline, Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella, Measure for Measure, The Pirates of Penzance, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, The Music Man, The Clay Cart, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Comedy of Errors, Hedda Gabler and Handler. Bill has also directed Equivocation at Seattle Rep and Arena Stage, and All the Way at the American Repertory Theater and the Neil Simon Theatre in New York (spring 2014). He will also direct a new production of The Pirates of Penzance at Portland Opera this spring.
Among his initiatives at OSF, Bill committed to commissioning up to 37 new plays to dramatize moments of change in American history. American Revolutions: the U.S. History Cycle is now in its fifth year of productions. He initiated the Black Swan Lab for New Work and a community-based format for the Green Show. Classic musicals as well as important plays outside of the Western canon are a more regular part of the OSF season playbill under his artistic leadership. He is known for his passionate dedication to diversifying the company and the audience.
Bill cofounded Cornerstone Theater Company, where he directed more than 40 productions and served as its artistic director from 1986 to 2006. He has directed a number of world premieres, including The Body of an American at Portland Center Stage (which, along with All the Way, was co-winner of the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History), The Clean House at Yale Repertory Theatre; Living Out and For Here or To Go? at the Mark Taper Forum; and My Wandering Boy and The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler at South Coast Repertory. He also directed the New York premiere of The Clean House at Lincoln Center Theater. Work elsewhere includes productions at South Coast Repertory, Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Great Lakes Theater and En Garde Arts.
Bill has served as an associate artist at Yale Repertory Theatre and South Coast Repertory and as a board member for Theatre Communications Group (TCG), 1992–1998. He was Claire Trevor Professor of Drama at University of California, Irvine from 2005 to 2007. In 2012, Bill received the Zelda Fichandler Award, and won TCG’s Visionary Leadership Award in 2010 and the Margo Jones Award in 2009. Other honors include a United States Artists Prudential Fellow (2008); Los Angeles Weekly, Garland, Connecticut Critics Circle, Drama-Logue and Helen Hayes awards for direction; Emmy and Ovation nominations and an inaugural “Leadership for a Changing World” award.
Bill was educated at Harvard College.