PCS Blog

The PCS Backstage Tour and Wine Reception

Posted by JamesD | 13 November 2012

The Gerding Theater at the Armory became the permanent home of Portland Center Stage when its renovation was completed in 2006. In the first week of November we invited some our amazing donors on a backstage tour of the building to give them a peek behind the scenes here at Portland Center Stage! Everyone divided up into four groups which were each led by their own personal PCS tour guide.
 
 
 
 
A Midsummer Night’s Dream begins on November 13th on the Main Stage and our donors got a rare glimpse at the set while our talented stage crew applied some final touches. The Main Stage is fairly versatile and can be modified in several different ways. For instance, the set for The North Plan from last season was built on a rotating platform and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was built into the backstage area to accommodate the long hallway of the mental ward. Each group was impressed to see how the pulley system worked, what the cat walk looked like, and the many rows of spotlights used on the Main Stage.
 
 

 
Next we took a peek at the Ellyn Bye Studio Theater and lobby which is our intimate little black box. The special thing about the Studio Theater is the fact that it is two floors underground and the sets are designed to fit in our freight elevator to make it easier to load them in. During the construction of the Studio Theater extra care was taken to make it as sound proof as possible. This allows Portland Center Stage to have two shows performing in both theaters without disturbing one another. This theater sits directly below the Main Stage and generally seats anywhere from 180-200 patrons depending on its configuration. During our tour we witnessed the lighting installation for The Santaland Diaries which begins on November 27th.
 
 
 
 
Everything is in full swing for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the costumes are ready to bring these stories to life! Creon Thorne, General Manager, gave an informative tour of the Costume Shop where every little garment detail is planned and created for our productions. This room is full of fabric, various colors of thread spools, and sewing machines. For this production, all of the costumes were custom drawn for each of the characters. These drawings were then pinned up in the Rehearsal Hall so that our performers could get a better understanding of their characters during the rehearsal process.
 
 
 
 
We wrapped up the tour in our administrative area on the third floor. We have our Wardrobe, Artistic, Education, Marketing, IT, and Production departments on one side. On the other side we have the Artistic Director’s Office, Administration and Development. The third floor is also where you will find the Julie S. Vigeland Rehearsal Hall which is where the performers spend most of their time in the weeks leading up to opening night. The Bruce Carey Canteen is where PCS performers and staff take their lunch breaks and it is located just outside of the rehearsal hall. This space gives us all an opportunity to casually get to know one another and welcome newcomers into the PCS family! 
 
 
 
 
The evening concluded with a hosted wine reception on the mezzanine. What could be a better?! The Backstage Tour is just one of many annual events that we offer to our donors for being a special part of our family!  There are several giving opportunities and ways to be involved in the work that we do here at Portland Center Stage. To learn more about making a donation and joining a membership level click here.
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