The progressive hamlet of ASHLAND, 180 miles south of Eugene, is the unlikely home of one of the world’s best tributes to Shakespeare, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, actually a repertory theatre company, founded in 1935. Its season runs from February to early November, offering eleven different plays; four by Shakespeare and seven by other classic, modern and contemporary writers. Performances take place in the half-timbered Elizabethan Theatre (early June to mid-Oct) and adjacent to it, the Angus Bowmer Theatre, which stages both classical and more recent works, and the austere Thomas Theatre, which has a mostly modern repertoire. The three theatres share the same box office, 15 S Pioneer St (

If you come in the summer, head twenty miles northwest to the preserved Old West hamlet of Jacksonville for the annual Britt Festival (June–Aug;, to hear the top names in jazz, pop, rock and country music.

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