When you think of big theater hubs in the US, chances are you think of New York City and Chicago, but did you know that Portland is home to a vibrant theater scene, as well? And when we say vibrant, we mean it. From larger theaters, to smaller, edgier theater companies and presenters that bring in the best from Broadway (and the rest of the world), there’s theater for everyone in the city.
Portland’5 Centers for the Arts is one of the largest performing arts presenters in the Pacific Northwest and is the fifth largest in the United States. Every year it brings in over 1000 theater, dance, music and lecture performances. The organization started with the founding of the Municipal Auditorium in 1917. Today, patrons can catch performances from the organization at over seven venues throughout the city. Recent featured events include: Welcome to Night Vale, Steve Martin and Martin Short, Disney’s The Lion King, Neil Degrasse Tyson Portland Opera’s Eugene Onegin, Sigur Ros, and Boys II Men.
The largest theater company in the area, Portland Center Stage produces Broadway caliber musical and other stage productions. Highlights from the 2016-2017 season include the classic dark comedy musical Little Shop of Horrors and Nick Payne’s spellbinding rumination on chance and fate: Constellations.
Although Portland Center Stage may be the largest theater company in the area, the Artists Repertory Theatre is longest running one. The company was founded in 1982 and has been performing “thought-provoking and intimate” theater with its core group of resident artists since 1982.
Although Third Rail Repertory Theatre is one of the more recent companies to join the Portland Theatre scene, it has succeeded in delivering consistently outstanding work. Like the Artists Repertory Theatre, Third Rail is is rooted in a core, permanent ensemble. Something unique about Third Rail is that they announce their season on a quarterly basis instead of a yearly one. This allows the company to tailor its theatre best to the moment at hand.
What sets the Profile Theatre apart from other companies in the area is its dedication to the work of the playwright. Rather than pull from a variety of a plays for a given season, the Profile Theatre choses one playwright to solely focus on. Complementing this focus, the Profile structures a thorough curriculum of study guides, talkbacks, and lectures to help audience members immerse themselves in content.
Listed above are but a few of the larger theater companies in the Portland Metro area, but the full extent of companies is nearly inexhaustible. Next you think of theater, I hope you think of Portland.