- Artistic director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Bill will use his fellowship to explore issues related to diversity and inclusion in American theater—among them, enabling more young directors of color to work with the classics, diversifying audiences for regional theater, and fostering innovations in gender-blind casting.
Bill Rauch has been challenging our ideas of what theater is, and who makes theater, since 1986 when he co-founded Cornerstone Theater. With Bill’s unwavering belief that artistic expression is civic engagement and that access to a creative forum is essential to the health of every individual and community, Cornerstone pioneered new approaches to produce outstanding new work based on the concerns of specific communities. Bill served as artistic director there until 2006.
Mixing ultra-urban Los Angeles with very rural Oregon, Bill guest directed several plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), one of the largest nonprofit theaters in the country, while still leading Cornerstone. In 2007 he was invited to become artistic director of the OSF. Over the past eight years, he has led a process of reenvisioning the festival’s overall artistic program and its relationship to its communities and has directed four world premieres and 15 other productions. Among other initiatives, he launched American Revolutions: The US History Cycle to explore important moments in the evolution of American democracy and American identity. One of its commissions, All the Way, written by Robert Schenkkan and directed by Bill, last year won the Tony Award for Best Play and earned Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for best directing.