PORTLAND THEATER’S MOST MAJOR PLAYER
Portland Center Stage is, by all measures, a major player. They’re the largest professional producing theater company in the city, and they literally “hold the fort” downtown, operating for the past 10 years out of the Pearl District’s gorgeously restored Armory building.
Started in 1988 as an offshoot of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the company made a clean break in 1994—but they retained their penchant for the classics as they gradually introduced new works. These days, PCS puts on a range of shows, from classics, to musicals, to contemporary scripts—many of which they workshop in-house via their annual summer staged-reading series, the JAW Festival. More than 55 plays developed at PCS have since spun out into about 175 productions worldwide. This season, PCS will focus on the homefront, launching a Northwest Stories series of four plays with strong local roots, two of which are brand-new commissions.
Beyond the stage, PCS offers community labs, workshops, and free fun events all season long. They also work with other arts, civic, and social service groups to connect the stories they tell onstage to the broader issues in society. The result? A theater community stronghold that continues to grow.