ARTISTS REPERTORY THEATRE’S (Artists Rep or ART) mission is to produce intimate, provocative theatre and provide a home for a diverse community of artists and audiences to take creative risks.
Artists Rep (est. 1982) is Portland’s oldest professional theatre company and has become a significant presence in the U.S. regional theatre with a legacy of world, national, and regional premieres of provocative new work with the highest standards of stagecraft. In 2016, ART became the 72nd member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and is an Associate Member of the National New Play Network (NNPN). Plays developed by ART have subsequently been produced in New York, Chicago, London, and throughout the country. Recognition for ART developed plays includes the Dramatists Guild Foundation Award, the Edgerton New Play Award, NEA Funding, the Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency Program, American Theatre Magazine’s Most-Produced Plays, and coverage in the New Yorker and the New York Times. In 2021, the Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) honored Artists Rep with the Creative Innovation Award for the company’s pivot to digital mediums in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Artists Rep is Portland’s premier mid-size regional theatre company and is currently led by Interim Artistic Director Luan Schooler and Executive Director J.S. May.
The organization is committed to local artists and features a company of Resident Artists and professionals of varied theatre disciplines who are a driving force behind Artists Rep’s creative output and identity.
ART recognizes that we are a predominately white organization and operate within systemic racism and oppression, and that silence and neutrality are actions of complicity. We recognize the critical role the arts play in our culture and national conversation and accept our responsibility to make positive change through our work, our practices, and our policies. We commit ourselves to the work of becoming an anti-racism and anti-oppression organization, and will work with urgency to end racial inequities in our industry and our culture.
We invite artists, audiences, and colleagues to hold us accountable.
ART gratefully acknowledges our theatre rests on the traditional lands of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and many other tribes who made their homes along the Columbia River.
TABLE|ROOM|STAGE (T|R|S), established in 2015, is Artists Rep’s new works program. The T|R|S mission is to develop and produce new work that vividly expresses Artists Rep’s aesthetic values. Focused on work by BIPOC writers, women, LGBTQIA+ and gender nonconforming writers, T|R|S offers an environment where these playwrights can create provocative, intimate new theatre pieces that challenge, illuminate, and inspire.
T|R|S has produced the following commissions: The Talented Ones by Yussef El Guindi (April 2017), The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota) (April 2018), and the NNPN Rolling World Premiere of Wolf Play by Hansol Jung (March 2019).
T|R|S is home to Mellon Playwright-In-Residence and Steinberg Award Winner, E.M. Lewis and Lacroute Playwright-In-Residence, Andrea Stolowitz. Playwrights under commission presently include Linda Alper, Kareem Fahmy, Andrea Stolowitz, and E.M. Lewis, whose play The Great Divide is co-commissioned with ART and Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
T|R|S has a hand in shaping World Premieres and vital second productions by some of the nation’s most exciting playwrights. These productions include: La Ruta by Isaac Gómez (November 2019), Teenage Dick by Mike Lew (January 2019), Magellanica by E.M. Lewis (January 2018), and Cuba Libre by Carlos Lacámara (Book) and Jorge Gómez (Music & Lyrics).
Through T|R|S, Artists Rep is an Associate Member of the National New Play Network (NNPN).
RESIDENT ARTISTS have an ongoing history of working on stage and behind-the-scenes of Artists Rep’s mainstage productions. They collaborate with administrative staff on education, community engagement, new play development, and fundraising efforts. The Resident Artist title is offered by the Artistic Director in appreciation of each artist’s achievements with ART and in the spirit of continued collaboration. These multidisciplinary theatre makers are deeply committed to ART’s success, share organizational values, and participate in decision-making processes that impact the theatre’s mission and its future. Through the Resident Artists program, a diverse community of Portland-based artists are at the center of the day-to-day life of the theatre and play a vital part in creating the culture at ART.
EDUCATION is dedicated to developing life-long learners at every ability, interest, and level of expertise. Opportunities focus on engaging with our community by offering professional-level classes, coaching, and workshops with our teaching artists. Programs like these serve artists and others seeking professional development, students seeking to engage in the transformative power of the arts, and life-long learners who can take classes in subjects such as dramaturgy, script-writing, and communication for non-actors. With the Student Ambassador Program, students learn about the inner-workings of a major nonprofit professional theatre, meet once per month, see shows for free, and participate in discussions with leading theatre artists and professionals. Access and enrichment are available for educators who enjoy ticket discounts, school programming, and workshops. Enhanced viewing experiences include post-show discussions with the cast, panel discussions with experts, and a dedicated conversation with production designers. Artists Rep and The Actors Conservatory are working in collaboration for both studio classes and a two-year intensive acting conservatory certificate program.
ARTSHUB is Artists Rep’s resource sharing and community-building initiative supporting Portland theatre makers, arts and education nonprofits, and community groups. The mission of the ArtsHub is to create a cultural center by supporting Portland’s rich artistic ecosystem. Programs and services include below-market rates for rehearsal, performance, and meeting space; shared administrative work space for individuals and organizations; and production services such as set construction, scenic painting, and professional technical support from design through performance. We prioritize artists and organizations that support ART’s values of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and seek to provide a home for artists and audiences to take creative risks.
While the program’s origin seven years ago was in response to an opportunity to share underutilized performance space, we have found that the most vital and lasting impact of the ArtsHub is the bustling community that has been formed and the myriad ways it has led to the empowerment of local artists and the accelerated growth of participating organizations. Our new facility is being designed so that the ARTSHUB can include even more organizations than it currently serves.
DNA: OXYGEN generates belonging.
DNA: Oxygen is an experiment in the radical transformation of a regional theatre into an institution rooted in anti-racist and anti-bias practices, allowing artists of color to find safety and community and flourish within our work.
Through a mentorship model designed to break down kept gates; the curation and prioritization of affinity space in a theatrical process; an ethos that begins with the safety of our brains, bodies, and stories; and an investigation into and the implementation of pathways to success for and defined by artists of color, DNA: Oxygen is an initiative to reconnect Artists Repertory Theatre with the spirit of a community center for all, regardless of access point or experience.
Each season, DNA: Oxygen leads with a question that guides programming choices, meetings, collaborators, and more.
RISE: The Campaign for Artists Repertory Theatre is the capital funding drive that will make possible the reinvention of ART’s building at 1515 SW Morrison. Originally an Elks Lodge health club, the Artists Rep building has reached the end of its useful life. A major gift in 2018 paid off the outstanding mortgage on the entire downtown block, catalyzing the 2019 sale of the north half of the building. ART received $9 million in the sale, which is now the lead investment for the reimagining of the remaining building. The roof and two massive wood beams will rise to create a modern multi-use performing arts center with two theatres, four rehearsal halls, and collaborative spaces for many new stories waiting to be shared. In June of 2021, the State of Oregon made a $2 million grant to RISE – The Campaign for Artists Repertory Theatre. This brings the total raised for the project to $22.9 million and potentially provides the funding to begin Phase 2 of construction: completion of the core, shell, seismic upgrades and investments in mechanical systems. Given long lead times for steel, construction is planned to begin in 2022. With additional fundraising success, Phase 3 (interiors) will be completed and ART will move into the new building in the winter of 2023.
ART: Past + Present
September 14, 2020
Equity is governed by its own members through an elected Council, representing principal actors, chorus actors and stage managers living in three regions: Eastern, Central and Western. Members at large participate in Equity’s governance through a system of regional Boards and Committees. Equity has 28 designated area liaison cities with over 100 members each.
The primary mission of the Cultural Advocacy Coalition is to increase ongoing public investment in arts, heritage and the humanities. Volunteers serve on the Board of Directors and include representatives from a broad number of interests to best represent the diverse mix of Oregon’s cultural community.