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Oregon Shakespeare Festival

We are thrilled to announce that the beloved Gentrain trip to Ashland, is ON AGAIN!!

Join the Gentrain Society and Dr. Alan Haffa, Director of Gentrain, as we visit Ashland, Oregon, for the annual Shakespeare Festival, July 2 through 7, 2024.

If you have been on the trip before, please note that there are some changes from prior years.  Most important, while the festival is working to come back up to full roster, they are going to be doing only five plays during this time. They are presenting Macbeth, described as “an ensemble-based showcase for OSF’s acting company,” Born With Teeth, a “razor-sharp encounter between Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe,” Jane Eyre, a “gothic masterpiece,” Lizard Boy, a San Francisco smash hit, “fresh from its 2023 Off-Broadway run,” and finally—Much Ado About Nothing, a “dazzling music filled production directed by Miriam Laube, a 17-year veteran of the festival.”

As we are housed at the local university, we are required to affirm that we are a student group, and you will need to attend a two-session overview and analysis of the plays which will be led by Dr. Haffa in the two weeks before the trip. We also have daily discussions of the plays while we are in Ashland, which many of us consider to be an invaluable adjunct to the experience.

Over the years we have had many requests to extend our stay in Ashland so that people could enjoy this wonderful small town with its exciting stores and beautiful outdoors.  Since we are seeing fewer plays, we are going to be able to have a few days without matinees, leaving you free to do just that.  There are also many theater-related events and tours which you might want to sign up for.

We are housed at the local university dormitories.  We do not have the option of dorm rooms this visit, so you will be housed in their suites, which can accommodate one or two people and have private bathrooms, and usually a mini fridge, and microwave.

Costs include:  Transportation from and back to MPC as well as within Ashland, five nights lodging, tickets to five plays, and gratuities.  Meals are not included.


Costs for this year’s trip are as follows:


Suite/single                          $1,295

Suite/double EACH           $1,170

The trip is limited to 32 participants and spaces are filled on a first-come basis.  Your check for the full amount, made out to MPC/Gentrain Society, will secure your reservation.  Please send checks to Allison Porter, 1920 Noche Buena St., Seaside, CA 93955.    Make sure your name, address, phone number and email address are included.  If you plan on having a roommate, please make let me know who that is.

All participants must be members of the Gentrain Society.  If you are not a member, please include your membership check made out to Gentrain Society/Membership in the amount of $35 per person or $50 per couple.

Any questions about registration can be answered by Allison Porter at 831-394-8051, email



Jul 02 - 07 2024


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Najm Akbar

I am Muhammad Najm Akbar. Call me Najm.
Born in Multan, Pakistan, I had my initial education there.
In the United States, I have graduated twice from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, MA 1995 and MALD, 2011, and have a graduate degree in History from Fresno State, 2022. Middlebury awarded me an MA in Teaching of Foreign Language, in 2009.

Alia and I have lived In Monterey since 2005. Our children are married and engaged in their professional lives in New York.

Our biggest delight is our two granddaughters, the eldest turns four soon, and the youngest is about a year and a half old.

I remained part of the Pakistan Foreign Service for two decades and at the Defense Language Institute taught Urdu for thirteen years until 2018.

I joined the MPC pool of adjunct history instructors in 2022 and have taught courses in Gentrain, World History, US History, and History of World Religions. 

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