The first decade.

The Festival, founded in 1935 by Angus L. Bowmer, began with 2 productions directed by Angus; The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night. In the beginning the actors, directors, and other staff were made up of townspeople and college students. In 1937, the Oregon Shakespearean Festival Association was incorporated as a non-profit. In 1939, the Festival was invited to participate in the Golden Gate Exposition, aka the San Francisco World’s Fair. The company performed at the Federal Theatre on Treasure Island and also broadcast The Taming of the Shrew over NBC radio. Angus Bowmer would later cite this event as the one that provided the broader interest which allowed the Festival to reopen after WWII.

1930s Production History