Orr named producing artistic director of Colorado Shakespeare Festival

April 11, 2014

The University of Colorado Boulder today announced the hiring of Timothy Orr as producing artistic director of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

Orr has been serving as interim director since February 2013 and was hired at the conclusion of a nationwide search for a permanent director.

Orr has been with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival as a performer since 2007 and joined the staff as the associate producing director in 2011. 

Steven R. Leigh, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, which oversees the festival, said Orr was selected from an “outstanding” pool of applicants.

“I’m very pleased with the level of national interest in our festival,” Leigh said. “We’re delighted that Tim Orr will be continuing in the role of producing artistic director, and we look forward to building on our successes at CSF.”

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is a professional theater company under the auspices of CU-Boulder. The festival was launched in 1958 and is one of a relative few companies to have performed the entire Shakespearean canon. It is the second-oldest U.S. theater company dedicated to Shakespeare.

On Orr’s watch, ticket sales for the 2013 season rose nearly 10 percent from 2012, and revenue was up by 18 percent. It was the first time ticket sales had risen over the previous year in five years. Also in 2013, CSF produced its first profitable season since 2006.

So far this year, advance ticket sales are double those of this time last year.

Orr also raised $75,000 to replace the decades-old and sometimes-failing stage lights in the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre. The new energy-efficient lights will cut electricity use by 25 percent and will enhance CSF’s artistic capabilities.

“This summer, audiences will experience a new world of light and beauty that will illuminate our stages for decades to come,” Orr said.

During Orr’s tenure at CSF, he started the CSF School of Theatre, which offers camps and classes for children and extend CSF’s reach into the community. He also launched CSF’s nationally recognized Shakespeare anti-bullying school tour, which has been seen by more than 46,000 children and featured on “PBS NewsHour.”

Orr is committed to CU undergraduate students. He plans to raise by 50 percent the weekly stipend of the acting interns this summer, who are drawn from the Department of Theatre and Dance, from $100 per week to $150 per week.

Further integrating CSF’s outreach goals with the college’s academic mission, last year’s “Spring Into Shakespeare” series included a host of events designed to view Shakespeare through the lens of multiple disciplines. The series included a special class called “Shakespeare in Performance,” taught by Shakespeare scholar and Professor Emeritus Harry Berger Jr. of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Orr holds degrees in music and arts management from California State University, Sacramento, and an MFA in theater from the University of California, Davis, and was a fellow with the League of American Orchestras. As an actor, he has appeared in 10 productions at CSF and also at numerous theaters across California.

In its 2014 season, which begins on June 6 and runs through Aug. 10, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival will perform “The Tempest,” “Henry IV, Part 1,” “Henry IV, Part 2,” “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “I Hate Hamlet.”

For more information on the Colorado Shakespeare Festival visit http://www.coloradoshakes.org.

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