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Letters, July 15

Good reasons for Tudor Guild change

In their guest opinion of July 3, Bryce and Larraine Anderson began with an appealing account of Tudor Guild’s history with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, reflecting the changing nature of the Guild’s role over the years. However, their subsequent version of OSF’s decision to assume management of the Tudor Guild Gift Shop and their criticism of OSF’s leadership is something with which we profoundly disagree. It should be viewed as the response of two very distressed and angry members.

The Andersons have been longtime participants in and leaders of Tudor Guild, and we acknowledge their contributions. Many of Tudor Guild’s 150 members are disappointed that our stewardship of the shop is coming to an end, and some are still coming to terms with the news. This has been a successful venture and a way for our many volunteers to connect with one another while supporting the Festival.

OSF’s decision did not come out of nowhere; the organization has contemplated this move for several years, wishing to have the shop as part of their brand identity rather than run by a separate entity. Furthermore, it is true that there are financial benefits to be gained for OSF in taking over the administration of the shop.

A small leadership team from Tudor Guild had been meeting with OSF management for four months prior to the announcement. While the decision was always final, David Schmitz, OSF’s executive director, gave many hours to discussing the timing and the background and reasons for the change. In our experience, David is mindful of — and deeply grateful for —– our past contributions. He has led the discussion on the possible ways Tudor Guild can continue to have a meaningful role in the festival and is keenly interested in finding a way for us all to move forward together. The conversations are ongoing, with expanded teams from both Tudor Guild and the festival exploring a wide range of options. We are confident that there will be exciting opportunities with the festival for Tudor Guild.

While it was shocking and unexpected for the Tudor Guild general membership to hear this news, decisions such as this one are most often closely held by just a few people until the public announcement can be made. People will be sad, and some may be angry for a while, but many others have expressed understanding of the festival’s wish to have its own store and of the wisdom of the timing for this change. We will successfully reinvent ourselves once again, as we have so many times in the almost 70 years since Tudor Guild was first formed in 1952.

Allan Anderson, president, Tudor Guild

Lola Egan, president-elect, Tudor Guild

Ashland