PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is making some changes to its staff, budget and more to help the business adjust to the “post-pandemic market.”
The festival closed for its fall 2020 season following guidance from former Oregon Gov. Kate Brown who wanted to cancel all large gatherings until at least September. OSF, like many other businesses who endured closures and cancellations due to COVID-19, has struggled to recover.
OSF’s restructuring aims to help the business bounce back from the effects of the pandemic, as well as ensure its long-term success. The restructuring includes 12 staff separations, seven employee furloughs, and the stopping or delaying of hiring new employees to the 18 currently-open positions.
“These decisions come after OSF took several bold actions throughout the 2022 Season and in advance of the 2023 Season to offset inherited structural deficits and the pandemic’s impact on operational costs, investments, ticket sales, and donations – including reducing the number of shows per season, decreasing the number of weeks it offers performances, and diversifying its offerings,” OSF said in a release.
One of the biggest changes to festival leadership is the resignation of executive director David Schmitz, effective immediately. Schmitz became OSF’s executive director in August 2020.
“I will be forever thankful that David was fearlessly optimistic from his very first day working to bring OSF forward to vitality while celebrating its glorious past,” Nataki Garrett said. “We have been lucky to have him here for a time and I look forward to witnessing all of the ways he will impact the theater field.”
Garrett is undergoing some repositioning of her own. She was OSF’s artistic director, but has stepped into a new role as the interim executive artistic director. In this role, she will manage the business’s artistic sector, development and marketing.
“We have experienced Nataki’s leadership through crisis many times before, but most notably during the pandemic when she took on the responsibilities across the organization to help OSF survive,” OSF Board Chair Diane Yu said. “I have no doubt that she, along with other members of the leadership team, will lead this organization through this transition period and into a place of stability and success.”
The festival will also lose its Director of Development Amanda Brandes in mid-February. Anyania Muse, who is the managing director of IDEA people, culture and operations, will become the interim chief operating officer.
In the first quarter of 2023, OSF will kick off an $80 million campaign to help fund the organization’s operations.