Even though Ashland ’s claim to fame is the extremely popular Oregon Shakespeare Festival, there is more to the town than the Bard.

An excellent online resource that contains just about everything any Ashland visitor might want to know is The Best of Ashland . It is operated by local folks who know the town and what's going on there. This website has listings for theater, art and events as well as a lot of other services. The number of businesses and activities listed, with direct links to most, is impressive.

Whether a local or a visitor, see if you can't catch an Ashland New Plays Festival event. ANPF’s flagship festival in October is the culmination of an international playwriting competition in which four new plays are culled from hundreds of submissions. This unique and much-loved annual event features professional actors and directors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the community in staged readings of the winning plays. The dramatic readings and the discussions that follow are a rich theatrical experience for audiences, and the guest playwrights look to Ashland’s sophisticated playgoers for responses to their works as they evolve from the page to the stage. Enjoy some excellent theater and be part of the creative process! For details about this and other ANPF events throughout the year, visit http://www.AshlandNewPlays.org/ .

The Ashland Independent Film Festival is held over five days in April in three venues. There are lots of opportunity to interact with independent film makers in post-film Q&As, panel discussions, workshops, parties and more. In addition to 90+ films (documentaries, shorts, animations, and features) there are live events.  Since 2001, this little film festival has made it on to the map at Sundance and other hot spots for the filmeratti.  http://www.AshlandFilm.org/  Tickets from $7-$13 per film. 

 Varsity World Film Week brings about a dozen international films for a week of viewing at the historic Art Deco Varsity Theatre. Ticket prices are modest, the films are selected by the director of programming of the Ashland Independent Film Festival and usually include some gems that make it to the Oscars.   

There are a few other festivals throughout the year, including the month-long Holiday Festival of Lights each December. Plus, the Jackson County Fairgounds in nearby Central Point (just one exit north of Medford on I-5) almost always has something going on, including a Harvest Fair, the July Tech Pavillion, the Oregon High School Equestrian finals in April, plus a variety of horse shows and a rodeo.

As for OSF, it is an internationally acclaimed nine-month theater festival running from February through October, and features four Shakespeare productions in addition to eight other plays. Now lead by Bill Rausch, the festival takes place primarily in three theaters on the OSF campus. The Angus Bowmer Theatre is the largest indoor theater (600 seats), and the smaller New Theatre (200-300 seats) is used for more daring plays. The Elizabethan Theatre (1200 seats), modeled after England ’s Fortune Theatre from the 17th century, is used from June through September only. Its opening is celebrated with the Feast of Will in Lithia Park . Throughout the season guests can also take backstage tours, attend special performances, and listen to talks and lectures. Schedules, tickets, and detailed information are available from the website,  http://www.osfashland.org/ , or from the festival office on Pioneer Street.