By Jay Hoppe, Staff Writer
Seeing Tony Award winning plays on a student’s budget may have felt impossible–until now. A Southern Oregon University student has just the ticket at an affordable price–all available on line through his recently created website and Facebook. As a Theater Arts Major he wanted to show other students great plays can be accessible, “I want students to see shows and utilize this world class theater organization that is located a half an hours walk away” says Logan Tiedt, the sites founder.
Eleven plays, three stages, and a season that lasts from February to early November. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is a non-profit professional theater organization founded in 1935, offering diversity of plays as well as events and activities to its community and visitors.
A typical season at OSF consists of a wide range of classic and contemporary plays produced in three theaters; the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre, the Thomas Theatre, and the Angus Bowmer Theatre. While OSF has produced non-Shakespearean works since 1960, each season continues to include at least three to five Shakespeare plays.
This year’s OSF season featured the eleven performances: Much Ado about Nothing, Guys and Dolls, Pericles, Fingersmith, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, Antony and Cleopatra, Head Over Heels, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Happiest Song Plays Last, and Sweat.
A ticket to OSF can range from $30 to $90 if you’re a member, prices for nonmembers can reach as much as $120. Because of this, students attending Southern Oregon University (SOU) can have a hard time accessing the OSF experience, despite SOU being a recognized institution for theater. In order to remedy the conflict, ticket rushing was introduced as a way for people to save on buying tickets. $40 tickets were being offered and a student rush had tickets being sold for $15. However, when asked not a lot of SOU students knew about OSF rushing tickets and even when they do, a student must contact the OSF box office directly to find out whether a show is rushing or not.
Tiedt sought to bridge the gap between these two theater titans. Tiedt is 19-year-old and attending SOU for its Theater Arts department. It was spring time when Tiedt had the notion to start-up an organization that would provide public information about Student Rushing amongst the student population while also promoting business for OSF, “I realized that I was always the one securing rush information for everyone, so I thought I’d make it as easy and accessible as possible,” shares Tiedt. “Thanks to the Weebly website builder, SOU for OSF Rush was born.”
As the site expanded, Tiedt added features that expanded from rush to include any affordable forms of seeing shows for under $30. A tab for OSF’s Green Show, noon festivals, and other web specials were also included into the platform which has steadily grown in design and function since. The site’s first official logo was released in August of this year.
Logan manages the entire system himself. All of the seat totals seen in the calendars are put in manually by Tiedt (relatively) nightly. Because of this, the site updates according to Logan’s schedule, which can sometimes leave viewers waiting. Despite this, the overall scope hasn’t diminished, because in May Tiedt introduced SOU for OSF Rush to all of Facebook users. Around the same time, Tiedt began sending emails out to those who wanted information directly sent to them. Tiedt is also the mastermind behind the “Rush Events” which is meant to be a social event where participants gather together and walk downtown to see a play.
“[Feedback] hasn’t been overwhelming, but it has been making little differences here and there. People especially like the Facebook page because that is where I post updates if a show becomes sold out, or a sold out show has a sudden vacating of seats which would allow a rare rush performance,” says Tiedt. “Some off handed effects, this establishment has helped me develop design and clip art skills.”
It’s not clear if the Shakespeare festival is aware of the site’s steady progression in online publicity. Logan expands on the subject, “I am not completely sure the OSF is aware of my existence, but I try to do everything by the books which mainly means that I don’t make any money off of this and I always give as much credit to photos as possible.”
Students and anyone interested in attending OSF can check out Logan Tiedt’s SOU for OSF Rush website and Facebook page. Even as this season is coming to a close, Tiedt has every intention to come back for the next one, “Next season my goal is to offer an event for every show.” says Logan, “I am also hoping to add another moderator.”
“ I am always amazed when I talk to someone who has lived here a year and never seen anything there and they don’t realize that you can see a show for $15.” The man behind the plan concludes.