OSF Named Theatre of the Year by National Theatre Conference

Bill Rauch chooses Ed Sylvanus Iskandar to receive NTC’s Emerging Professional Award

Press Release
January 6, 2014

Ashland, Ore.— The National Theatre Conference (NTC) has awarded its 2013 Outstanding Theatre Award to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch accepted the award, which annually recognizes outstanding achievement by a not-for-profit theatre, on Dec. 7 at the NTC’s annual meeting in New York City.

As Artistic Director of the winning theatre, Mr. Rauch was asked to choose the recipient of the NTC’s Emerging Professional Award, given to someone “demonstrating exemplary promise in a professional theatre organization.” Mr. Rauch bestowed the honor upon Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, who began his professional career as a director for two seasons at OSF and is the Founding Artistic Director on the invite-only theatre company Exit, Pursued by a Bear.

“OSF founder Angus Bowmer was an educator as well as a theater professional, so to receive this award from an organization that is comprised of leading theatre educators as well as practitioners was especially meaningful,” Mr. Rauch said. “I was also so proud that Ed Iskandar received the Emerging Professional Award. He is one of the most dynamic and imaginative young theater leaders in this country, remaking the relationship between actor and audience in bold and unforgettable theatrical events.”

"I'm humbled by this recognition from NTC, and Bill, my most cherished mentor and the director whom I most admired as a young student visiting OSF,” Mr. Iskandar said. “I spent eight years as an audience member before I accepted the invitation to join the company; in every sense, my artistic identity was forged on the Bricks, at Martino's and in the homes of so many generous artists who took me in and showed me what it was to be a member of the most extraordinary community and exemplary acting company in the country. I look forward to lifelong engagement with OSF."

Also honored by the NTC were playwrights Lynn Nottage (Person of the Year), Jackie Sibblies Drury (Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award), and Chisa Hutchison (Paul Green Foundation Award).

The National Theatre Conference, founded in 1925, brings its membership together annually to honor accomplishments in theatre as well as to facilitate the interchange of aims and ideals and the discussion of common problems and interests.

Since its founding by Angus Bowmer in 1935, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has grown from a three-day festival of two plays to a major theatre arts organization that presents an eight-month season consisting of four plays by William Shakespeare and seven that represent a mix of classics, musicals, and new works. The Festival also draws attendance of more than 400,000 to almost 800 performances every year and employs approximately 575 theatre professionals. In 2008, OSF launched American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle, a 10-year cycle of commissioning new plays that has already resulted in several OSF commissions finding success nationwide, including the Broadway-bound All The Way, which won the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History in 2013.

Ed Iskandar

Pictured: Ed Iskandar