Summer Seminar Participants (2014). Photo by Jenny Graham.

Summer Seminar for High School Juniors

Do you know any high school juniors with a passion for theatre and Shakespeare? Encourage them to apply to the Summer Seminar! Every summer, a diverse group of rising seniors visit OSF for two intense weeks of playgoing, forums and workshops. Their immersive experience promotes self-discovery, and empowers students to become leaders, arts advocates and change-makers in their schools and communities.

About Summer Seminar

Summer Seminar (2014). Costume Construction Technical Intensive. Photo: Kelsey B. C. Sloan.
Summer Seminar Technical Intensive (2014). Photo by Kelsey B. C. Sloan

  • The Summer Seminar offers students from all over the country the opportunity to come to Ashland and experience all aspects of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's operation. For two exciting weeks, sixty-five talented young people between their junior and senior year are thrust into a rigorous schedule which includes forums, workshops, discussions and playgoing events. Members of the OSF Company share their art, skill, insight and theatrical expertise with the group.
  • Students gain insight into the workings of a successful repertory theatre company by attending forums and workshops on such topics as theatre administration, fundraising, stage management, costume and properties construction, scenic design, sound and lighting design, as well as Shakespeare scansion, audition skills, text analysis, movement and voice for the stage.
  • Students also attend 10 plays in the Festival's repertory, develop projects with other students addressing the challenges facing school drama programs and the arts on a national level and make connections with others who care deeply about theatre.
How to Get Involved
  • Summer Seminar dates for 2015 are August 3 – August 15.
  • Admission to the program is limited to 65 students, with 6-8 additional students selected as alternates.
  • Students must be recommended by teachers and/or other adults, and must complete an application which requires thought and self‑examination.
  • While an extensive theatrical resume is not an admission requirement, students must have a demonstrated interest in the arts and a background in school or community theatre.
  • Students must be able to study and memorize complex text, function independently and adhere to the physically rigorous Seminar schedule. Active physical participation is required in workshops.
  • We are seeking students of diverse backgrounds.
2015 Summer Seminar Application

Additional Logistics


  • The first event for the Summer Seminar for High School Juniors is on Monday, August 3 at 6:30 p.m. Students can arrive throughout the day but should plan to be in Ashland by 5:00 p.m.
  • Many Seminar events take place at the Southern Oregon University Theatre building, but some workshops and all of the play going will take place downtown at the Festival. Students will walk the 1.5 miles together to the theatre in order to participate in events scheduled downtown.
  • In addition to the variety of forums and workshops, 2015 Summer Seminar participants see 10 plays: Antony and Cleopatra, Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, Guys and Dolls, Long Day’s Journey into Night, The Happiest Song Plays Last, Pericles, The Count of Monte Cristo, Much Ado about Nothing, Sweat, Head over Heels.
  • A final sharing of the students’ experiences is held on Saturday, August 15 at 10:30 a.m. We call it the “Swan Song,” and family members and friends are encouraged to attend.


  • Cost of the program for 2015 is $2,250. This fee includes tickets to the 10 plays and other events and room and board at Southern Oregon University.
  • Sliding scale tuition assistance is available for students whose families have a demonstrated financial need. Information regarding tuition assistance is provided to applicants after being accepted into the program.


  • Participants are housed in Southern Oregon University dormitories and will have most of their meals at The Hawk Dining Hall on the SOU campus.
  • There are six OSF staff members who also stay at the dorms with the students. In addition, eight Senior Assistants from the previous Summer Seminar stay in the dorms, providing support to staff and Seminar participants alike.

College Credit

Two theatre elective credits are available through Southern Oregon University for an additional fee. More information is available after students have been accepted into the Seminar.

Summer Seminar participants are lovingly referred to as “Semmies.” Below are some reflections shared by 2014 Semmies.

“What really drew me to the Summer Seminar in the first place was the inclusion of all parts of the theatre—acting, directing, musical theatre, producing, stage managing, design and technical theatre. During my time in Ashland we learned so, so much about all this and much more!”

“We walk together, sweat together, laugh together and cry together. When I walk into a room full of Semmies I see aspiring artists, thriving spirits, confused teenagers trying to find their way. We all lend out our hands to share in the journey. Collaboration has never felt so right.” 

“I finally understand what being an ensemble means. I finally learned to let myself go, and be part of everyone.”

“I love that I had so many opportunities to learn and do new things through the various workshops and forums everyone went to. I felt like I could let go and let my heart do the creative work.” 

“During my time at Seminar I have become a stronger individual on so many different levels; physically, emotionally and intellectually. I connect and understand people on such a different level now.”

“I’ve met the most incredible people here, from my fellow Semmies to the seniors to the staff. I can say that I know things now, many beautiful things, that I hadn’t known before. Ten years couldn't teach me what I’ve learned in 13 days.”