A SMALL THEATER WITH VAST REACH AND HEART
Portland Playhouse may inhabit a small theater space—a mere 100 seats—but they’ve grown a loyal audience from 850 when they started to a current high of 12,000 thanks to two major strengths: a welcoming spirit toward their surrounding community and a huge creative range. “We tackle large, complex plays and education programs with a refreshing ignorance to all reasons why we should fail,” they half-joke.
In 2008, Portland Playhouse set up shop in the former Mt. Sinai Baptist Church building in the King neighborhood, a historically Black neighborhood currently battling the damaging effects of gentrification. In 2011, they almost lost their zoning, until neighbors vouched for the theater’s cultural value in providing an all too rare platform for diverse playwrights and actors. To this day, a strong sense of mutual support remains between the theater and neighbors.
Reconfiguring their space for each show, the Playhouse has proven equally visionary at staging classics, such as A Christmas Carol, American stories from culturally specific perspectives, and politically potent modern morality plays from around the world.
In the 2016–17 season, look forward to more intimate, immersive, and thought-provoking theater from a multiplicity of inspirations.
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