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The Impact of ART

Artists Repertory Theatre prepares for its 40th season on stage.

Presented by Artists Repertory Theatre By Leslie Crandell Dawes June 21, 2022

Wolf Play by Hansol Jung, was a Table|Room|Stage World Premiere. Ayanna Berkshire and Christopher Larkin.

Image: David Kinder

Since its inception in 1982, Artists Repertory Theatre (ART) has seen the beginning of exciting new initiatives like Table|Room|Stage, the new play program centering BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ writers, creating an environment for playwrights to create provocative, intimate new theatre to challenge, illuminate and inspire. As Portland’s longest-running theatre company, ART has a deep history of supporting the city’s artistic ecosystem by commissioning, developing, and producing provocative new works.

The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa Fasthorse was an ART commission that quickly became one of the most produced plays in America. It will make its Broadway premiere this fall. Chris Harder, Michael O'Connell, and Claire Rigsby.

And as ART prepares for an incredible and historic 40th season this fall, it continues to share new stories that feature relationships as they are tested by segregation, religion, and truthiness.

 The 2022/23 season’s lineup of plays includes bold, audacious new works, all produced in our temporary home in the Ellyn Bye Studio at Portland Center Stage. It will also mark the last season ART is “on tour.” This season offers patrons a vibrant mix of poetic and exhilarating stories that will surely delight frequent theatre-goers and new ones alike. 

ART’s 40th Season announced. Artwork by Aki Ruiz. 

The preeminent producer of new plays in Portland, ART is thrilled to offer the Portland premiere of Tony Meneses’ play, The Hombres, a hilarious, fresh, nuanced look at the complexity of male friendships through the lens of machismo culture; Christina Anderson’s the ripple, the wave that carried me home (a co-production with Portland Center Stage @ The Armory), drawing on history, this deeply moving story explores the joys and challenges of forgiveness, justice, and family legacy, as a young woman reconciles a childhood she has tried to forget; an ART commission and rolling world premiere of American Fast by Kareem Fahmy, depicts a top-ranked basketball standout, Khady Salama, as she is faced with winning at all costs while grappling with her faith and relationships; and finally, ART caps the season with Mellon Playwright-In-Residence, E.M. Lewis’ play, True Story, which draws from the classic film noir, it’s a propulsive examination of how facts, biases, and perceptions are manipulated - and asks if discovering the truth is worth the ultimate price?

Of the upcoming season, Interim Artistic Director Luan Schooler says, “For our 22/23 season, we’re digging into plays that explore family, friends, truth, and lies.” Schooler continues, “the pandemic showed us all how much we need our friends and family, as well as how tricky it can be to be fully truthful with each other.” ART’s plan to produce plays that are appealing to a wider audience is deliberate. Schooler goes on to say, “we’re excited to share these warm, provocative, funny, plays with our audiences. The families and friends in these plays may not be exactly like our own, but anyone who has ever lied to their mother, hidden something from friends, or thought they knew the truth, can see themselves in these plays.” 

Building plans for the newly renovated building at 1515 SW Morrison. Artwork by LEVER architecture. 

The importance of audience engagement extends beyond onstage productions. It also helps propel ART into our newly renovated building at 1515 Morrison. Executive Director, J.S. May continues to lead RISE: The Campaign for Artists Repertory Theatre. To date, $24.32 million has been raised on the $30 million goal. “The final phase of construction will begin in the fall of 2022 and we intend to open our 41st Season in 2023 in a state-of-the-art building. We just need a little help from our community of supporters to get us over the top to this goal,” states May. 

The world premiere production of the new musical, Cubre Libre by Carlos Lacámara and music & lyrics by Jorge Gómez, featuring music by Tiempo Libre. Brandon Contreras, Jose Luaces, and German Alexander.

Image: Owen Carey

While ART continues to produce provocative new works and programs that sustainably amplify the work of writers of color, women, trans, and gender-nonconforming playwrights, it’s also creating accessible theatre for our patrons. Starting with the 2022/23 season, all single tickets are available on a sliding scale six weeks before a show opens; you get to choose the price point that matches what you can give. Your support is not only a direct investment in local artists and groundbreaking work, but also funds ART’s commitment to pricing accessibility. ART is Portland. Join us in making an impact on the future of Artists Repertory Theatre and our city through the power of world-changing stories.

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