Staff Musings


Picture of Angus Bowmer Theater

As the 2014 Oregon Shakespeare Festival kicks off another incredible season of contemporary and Shakespearean productions, we at the Stratford Inn want to take a moment to reflect upon the founder of Ashland’s Shakespearean Festival, Angus L. Bowmer.  Originally invited to teach English at Southern Oregon University’s predecessor school, Bowmer moved to Ashland to take up his post as teacher and soon began organizing theater productions.  It was Bowmer’s idea to offer Ashland’s community staging of Shakespearean plays on an outdoor Elizabethan stage.  Since Bowmer’s first productions, attendance for Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival has grown exponentially.  When it became so popular that thousands of people were being turned away, the city of Ashland joined the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in raising funds to expand the Oregon Shakespeare Festival including the addition of the 600 seat theater soon named the Angus Bowmer Theater.  For more details on the life of Angus Bowmer as well as the theater named in his honor, visit


Don’t Miss the Oregon Chocolate Festival!

Friday March 7th marks the start of the 10th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival held right here in beautiful Ashland Oregon. Events are held all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and take place at a variety of business all within walking distance of the Stratford Inn. Events include chocolate themed tastings, demonstrations, samplings, dinners, presentations, awards and much more. The festivities kick off Friday morning at 11 with a free tasting at Paddington Station and transition into a chocolate-themed first Friday art walk from 5-8pm. Events continue all day Saturday and are highlighted by an offering of 20% off Oregon Shakespeare Festival shows (mention “chocolate” to receive discount). Things wrap up Sunday at 4pm with the people’s choice award & award ceremony. Come join us for a weekend of fun, friends, and most importantly chocolate.

beer picture

Looking for something new and exciting to do in Ashland? Try Indigo Creek’s brewery tours. These tours leave from Ashland, run Thursday through Sunday and last for five hours. During that time the tour will stop at four breweries here in the Rogue Valley. These unique micro and nano breweries are considered to be “off the beaten path” and sure to delight. Due to the strong relationships Indigo Creek Outfitters has with these various breweries, you will have the opportunity to meet the owners and brewers during the tour. You will have the chance to chat with them about the breweries and learn more about their history. These tours are a craft beer lovers dream. The cost of the tours is $70 per person, and you must be 21 to ride. Learn more at

Ashland Shakespeare Theatre
Spring at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is about to begin!  Preview Week begins February 14th and should not be missed.  The plays to open the season are The Tempest, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, Cocoanuts, and The Comedy of Errors.
The first play to run is The Tempest.  Set in the Renaissance, this play explores the strange and magical world of Prospero.  The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window set in 1964 Greenwich Village is extraordinarily contemporary in its relevance to today’s society as the play explores what it means to take a stand for one’s community while navigating the waters of commitment to oneself as well as to others.  Counteracting these dramas are Cocoanuts and The Comedy of Errors.  Cocoanuts feature the music and lyrics of Irving Berlin in this Marx Brother’s Romp.  Masterfully reinvented, the music and production aim to thrill.  And lastly, The Comedy of Errors set in the Harlem Renaissance is a comedy with heart centered on the reunion of family.
If you have not yet purchased tickets, it is not too late!  Check out or call the box office at 1-800-219-8161

Festival of Lights

We are now in February and yet I am gazing through the window at a particularly beautiful sunny day.  For the most part, it seems as though I am not the only one who has enjoyed this sunny turn of events.  I have seen most of Ashland’s community relishing the unusual warmth hiking, biking, or just strolling through downtown with their afternoon coffee.  And while the general tone around town is one of enjoyment, I have met a lot of disappointed skiers this year. The truth is, I am new to Ashland’s winter season, and have been welcoming these sunny days without understanding the implications of this near-rainless winter.   I forget how much hotter and dryer the Ashland summers are and how we depend on a winter rainy season to temper the risk of fires.  While California’s governor has declared California’s drought a state of emergency, the entire state of Oregon as well as 97 percent of Nevada is considered to be in a state of drought as well.  Let’s hope for a rainy February to change the course of this dry-spell! 

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