Bill Rauch to Leave Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2019

The longtime artistic director will leave to lead the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Performing Arts at the World Trade Center in New York City.

ASHLAND, ORE.: Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) has announced that artistic director Bill Rauch will depart the company in 2019. Rauch, who led the company for 12 years, will leave to become the artistic leader of the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Performing Arts at the World Trade Center in New York City.

Biil Rauch in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre.

“What we have collectively accomplished in the past 12 years at OSF exceeds my wildest dreams of what was possible when I first started the job,” said Rauch in a statement. “An ever-diversifying universe of actors, artisans, administrators, board members, audience members, and so many more have led this Festival boldly forward to the forefront of the American theatre.”

During his tenure at OSF, Rauch collaborated with Alison Carey to commission 37 new plays that reflected moments of change in American history as part of the American Revolutions: the U.S. History Cycle. All the Way, created through the program, went on to Broadway and won a Tony Award. He also led the Play on! 36 Playwrights Translate Shakespeare project and initiated the Black Swan Lab for New Work. He worked to diversify both the OSF company and audience, and has been a leader in the field for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Under his leadership, the OSF campus expanded with the Hay-Patton Rehearsal Center, and multiple renovations and accessibility improvements were made.

Prior to OSF, Rauch founded Cornerstone Theater Company, where he served as artistic director from 1986 to 2006. His directing credits include Naomi Wallace’s Night Is a Room at New York’s Signature Theatre; The Body of an American at Portland Center Stage; The Clean House at Yale Repertory Theatre; and Living Out and For Here or To Go? at the Mark Taper Forum. He also directed the New York premiere of The Clean House at Lincoln Center Theater. He also helmed productions at South Coast Repertory, Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Great Lakes Theater, and En Garde Arts.

“Bill’s time as OSF’s artistic director has been and will continue to be extraordinary,” said OSF board president Peter H. Koehler Jr. in a statement. “Thanks to his talent, vision, passion, and unflagging energy, OSF is now at the center of the national theatre conversation. We’ve been honored with the Festival’s first Tony Award for Best Play and first Pulitzer Prize, seen numerous world premieres go on to great success across the country, begun a decade-long journey through Shakespeare’s entire canon, and become a leader in the field with our equity, diversity and inclusion efforts.”

The Performing Arts Center at World Trade Center will be a global center for multi-disciplinary arts, complete with three flexible performance spaces, community spaces, and a café.

“The opportunity to move to New York to lead the Perelman Center is tremendously exciting,” said Rauch in a statement. “I’m honored to be able to create transformative art and cultivate a community gathering space at a site that has such powerful emotional resonance for our country and the world.”