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Skidmore College
Off-Campus Study & Exchanges


Shakespeare: Playwrights, Plays and New Development

Course Description

Who are the major players in the 21st Century-US American Theater, and how have they responded to the major shifts in American culture at a dawn of the new millennium?  What is the relationship between these new voices and the traditional canon of western drama which rests upon the work of William Shakespeare? This course will study in depth The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) as a representative test case in pursuit of answers to these questions. OSF is the only classical theater in American to showcase the work of actors of color in over 50% of the roles. During this 7-day trip to OSF in rural Ashland, Oregon, students will see several plays, meet with artists, and engage with OSF's many free community-engagement initiatives, such as the Green Show. In addition to thinking about contemporary and classical theater practices, students will interdisciplinary study the engagement between environmental studies and theater by examining the extraordinary economic hardship OSF has encountered over the past 5 years as a result of the consistent Western Oregon forest fires, as well as consider how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted regional theaters like OSF.

Learning goals

  •  Speak authoritatively on a variety of contemporary American playwrights. 
  • Make connections between the work of different playwrights.
  • Understand the relationship between playwrights, theaters and their audiences.
  • Understand the role of directors, dramaturge's, designers, and actors in new work development.
  • Feel a connection between their own artistry and the playwrights studied in the course.
  • Ingrain themselves in depth in the working of a major American theater, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. 


Dates: May 28 - June 4, 2022 

Prerequisite: Travel seminar students will have completed one introductory Theater course (TH 103) and an English, Classics, Theater, or World Language course that studies diversity in theater or Shakespeare. 

Credits: 2 credit for TX300B

Program Fee: The anticipated fee is $2,200 - 2,500 (subject to fluctuation) and will be set by the application deadline. The program fee includes Skidmore tuition, ground transportation, accommodation, some meals, theater performances and related activities, and Skidmore faculty. Students are responsible for their own transportation to/from Ashland, Oregon as well as one meal per day.  As a summer program, there is no financial aid for this travel seminar.

Meals and Accommodation: The program fee includes program housing in shared accommodations at a local hotel.  Designated group meals (dinners) will be covered and students will receive breakfast at the hotel.  More specific information about meals and housing will be communicated to students upon acceptance. 

Flights:  Students are responsible for their own flights or transportation to/from Ashland, OR (flights go in/out of Medford, OR).  The program fee includes an airport transfer from Medford to the hotel in Ashland.

Application Process: The deadline for applications is February 15, 2022. Students are required to apply for Travel Seminars through the MyOCSE portal.  Applications will be reviewed and students will be notified of acceptances shortly after the deadline.

Class of 2022 Students: Seniors are welcome to participate in any of our spring or summer travel seminars. For the Oregon travel seminar, students will have two options. First, students can be reclassified as August graduates and the credits will be counted towards your degree (and show on your transcirpt). Second option is to take this travel seminar as a post-grad course and your graduation date will remain as May. The course and grade will be posted to your transcript as a post-grad course (not counted towards your degree nor factored into your GPA). Don't worry, with either option, you'll still be able to walk on graduation day!


Stop by the OCSE office (Starbuck 202) or contact Professor John Michael DiResta( directly.