In 1982, Judy and Paul Heitmann approached Oregon High School Choral Director Gay Shaw with a proposal to form a local theatre troupe. They recruited the financial assistance of the Oregon Chamber of Commerce and the help of a troop of volunteers to present Oklahoma! in the OHS Cafetorium that summer.
In 1984, Oregon Straw Hat Players was incorporated, taking our name from the "straw hat circuit," a tradition of special summer theatrical productions staged outside the usual urban centers.
From the beginning, we have done more than just produce shows. OSHP actively participates in many community efforts. For many years we have offered scholarships for students interested in pursuing the fine arts, as summer productions at Oregon High School often include our members onstage, in the orchestra pit, and backstage. We have sponsored workshops for both students and adults in stage combat, makeup techniques, lighting, costume design, stagecraft, auditioning, and improvisation. We have assisted at the Oregon Area Senior Center. We participate in Oregon Summer Fest, having operated the meatball booth for many years and appearing in the parade. We are a member of the Oregon Chamber of Commerce, and assist the Oregon Horse Association at its Memorial Day Show.
Hundreds of volunteers over the years have contributed to the Straw Hat effort. In 1989, we established our Hats Off! Awards to recognize that fact.
Both residents and those who've adopted Oregon as a second home have come to feel that OSHP is an integral part of the town's fabric. We hope you will join us as we continue our efforts to bring the best of community theater to the Oregon area.