The story of Bag&Baggage (B&B) reads like something out of Elizabethan history. Founded in 2005 by a small group of theater practitioners, B&B’s original mission was to travel the state of Oregon performing high quality, accessible, classical theater for communities without a resident professional theater. Like a traveling troupe of Elizabethan players, this small band of performers would arrive in places like Hood River, Corvallis, Beaverton, Astoria, Sandy and Hillsboro with everything they needed to put on a show in their “bags and baggage…” (hence our company name, which comes directly from Shakespeare’s great pastoral comedy “As You Like It”).
The company grew quickly, gaining a reputation for artistic quality, affordability and a very quirky sense of humor. Over the course of the next few years, the company found a series of patrons in the Hillsboro area and we decided to focus our work exclusively for the citizens of our Artistic Director’s home town of Hillsboro, Oregon. Since 2007, Bag&Baggage has been proud to call the refurbished, 400-seat Venetian performing arts theater their primary performance venue.
Bag&Baggage performances follow a standard schedule each season: First, we open each season with an outdoor summer Shakespeare event at the Tom Hughes Civic Center Plaza. Next, we return to the Venetian for 4 consecutive shows beginning in September with an American classic, followed in December by a holiday themed production, then a major literary adaptation of Shakespeare in March and, finally, closing our season in May with a classic of English drama.
Since our first season, audience numbers have consistently grown year by year. Currently, Bag&Baggage sells upwards of 15,000 tickets annually, making us the largest non-profit arts organization in Hillsboro and one of the largest in all of Washington County.