TNE Editor

Mercer conducts 12th annual trip to Oregon


Tabby Talbot

TNE Writer

Every summer since 2007, John Mercer, English professor, has conducted a trip to Ashland, Ore. There, students have the opportunity to spend a week studying and watching Shakespeare plays by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. OSF is a professional acting company that specializes in performing original Shakespeare plays.

It is here that audiences can see eight original Shakespeare plays, more than any other theater in America. Between performances, attendees can explore the town, go to restaurants, visit shops or simply relax in Lithia Park.

OSF is one of America's oldest and largest professional theatres. It includes the Thomas Theatre, the Angus Bowmer Theatre and the Allen Elizabethan Theatre. The Elizabethan is the oldest Shakespearean theatre in the U.S. It is open air and built similarly to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

Mercer is a Shakespeare enthusiast who believes plays are meant to be seen on stage and not just read on paper.

“Students are exhilarated by the quality of the productions and the many ways OSF brings Shakespeare into today’s contemporary world,” said Mercer. “The physical environment of the Cascade Mountains and the Rogue Valley is stunningly beautiful.”

Kearlee Gregory, Broken Arrow senior, attended this trip in the past. Gregory explained why others should attend the trip based on her experiences.

“I absolutely loved the trip,” said Gregory. “Being surrounded by people with similar interests and purposes to my own was wonderful. The entire town is dedicated to all types of art, but mainly focuses on performing arts. I think this trip would be an excellent way to learn more on how art remains relevant, how these adaptations help spectators understand the many facets of those movements or stances, how the artists themselves view the movements or stances, all while earning credit and enjoying the beauty of Oregon.”

While the trip offers a vacation, it also offers three undergraduate credit hours in English, theater or humanities. Graduate students also have the chance to gain three credit hours for English by taking Mercer's Study Away: Shakespeare course. While students in these majors and minors can receive credit hours, there are no restrictions on who can apply. All students are invited to apply to attend the Oregon trip.

“Including airfare, ground transportation, theatre tickets and dorm housing, the total cost of the trip is $1625,” said Mercer. “However, the first 12 students who sign up for the trip and pay a $300 deposit will receive a $150 discount, which brings their total cost down to $1475. Meals and academic tuition is not included in the cost of the trip.”

Because the trip’s cost is in addition to tuition for the credit hours, there are eight different scholarships available for students use on the trip.  

“I'm a single parent juggling school and work and a mortgage, in addition to trying to be a decent parent to my son,” said Amy Luznicky, Tulsa senior. “As you can imagine, my life is extremely stressful and I'm overloaded with responsibilities. My circumstances make it very difficult to devote enough time to my studies and development though. I won one of the undergrad scholarships last year, and without that assistance I would not have been able to attend.”

Luznicky said the trip showed her that her dream of becoming a writer and performer was not unreachable, but a legitimate dream worth pursuing. Luznicky said the Oregon trip made her more confident in taking her talent seriously and devoting more attention to it.

The Oregon Shakespeare Trip will take place July 27-Aug. 3. Scholarship applications are due March 15 and trip applications are due March 30.

For more information about the Oregon Shakespeare Trip and scholarship opportunities, visit NSU’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival webpage.




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