Education & Community Programs


How can we use theater as a lens to explore who we are, what we believe, and how we connect with one another?

Portland Center Stage offers a wide variety of high quality public programs aimed at bridging the gap between theater and society at large.

Our home inside the Gerding Theater at the Armory is a place where Portlanders can immerse themselves in creativity, deepen their understanding of each other, forge social bonds, and celebrate differences meaningfully. For more information on any of our programs, please email or call 503-445-3795.  

Download our Education & Community Programs Annual Report.  Download Beyond the Proscenium to learn more about how PCS is creating a successful ecology for community engagement.

education programs for schools

Our Education Programs provide young people with opportunities to experience the art of theatre, to directly participate in its process, and to apply its collaborative principles elsewhere in their daily lives.

Stage Door

Our Stage Door program provides young people with an unforgettable opportunity to experience professional theatre in a context that supports their education. Targeted toward students age 12 to 18, Stage Door offers:

  • Discounted tickets to Thursday matinees and weekday evening performances
  • FREE tickets for Title 1 schools and social service agencies
  • FREE in-school workshops, providing additional background about the play and theatrical craftsmanship
  • FREE post-show discussions with the cast following each Thursday matinee performance
  • FREE tours of the Gerding Theater at the Armory
  • Resource Guides containing informative content design to spark conversation in the classroom before and after the theatrical experience.

School matinee schedule and age recommendations for the 2015/2016 season here.  For more information, pelase email or call 503-445-3795.

All's Fair in Love and Shakespeare

“The course of true love never did run smooth.”  Four actors perform famous scenes of romance, intrigue and regret. Our hour-long program is designed to take Shakespeare out into the community and explore the complex relationships of the Bard's most famous couples.  Join Romeo and Juliet, Beatrice and Benedick, the Macbeths and others for a deeper look at love found, love lost, love forgotten and, most of all, to celebrate the master of the language of love.

Booking now for schools, community centers, businesses, libraries, universities and everything in-between. For more information, pelase email or call 503-445-3795.

Cost: $400 with limited full and half-scholarships available.

Visions & Voices

The Visions & Voices student playwriting program brings professional teaching artists into public high school classrooms for intensive, month-long residencies during which students learn about the basic elements of theater, with each writing a short play.  Designed to meet Oregon benchmarks for Arts and English/Language Arts, the Visions & Voices curriculum addresses theatrical conventions and dramatic structure, as well as acting, writing, and constructive critical response. The program culminates at the end of the school year with free, public readings of plays selected from all residency sites, performed by professional actors. 

Every summer, up to six Visions & Voices graduates are chosen by Portland Center Stage to participate in JAW: A Playwrights Festival, which is recognized nationally for its role in developing new works for the stage. Alongside professionals from across the country and under the mentorship of our Resident Teaching Artist, these Promising Playwrights conceive and write original short plays from start to finish in the span of two weeks. Their plays are then performed by professional actors at the festival’s kick-off event in the Ellyn Bye Studio.


education programs for teens

Let PCS introduce you to the confidence-building fun of learning performance skills in a stimulating, supportive environment through the city’s flagship theater.  Our teaching professionals, drawn from Portland’s theater elite, eagerly await the chance to share their experience with you.

Summer Teen Theater Intensives

Session I: Advanced Acting & Audition Intensive
For students entering grades 11 and 12
June 13-24, 2016  Monday through Friday

Dive into advanced character building and the actor's most difficult job: the audition.  Students will leave this two-week session having prepared a professional audition comprised of two contrasting monologues. The session culminates with students performing their audition pieces before a panel of Portland casting directors.

Session II: Musical Theater Intensive
For students entering grades 9 through 12
August 8-19, 2016  Monday through Friday

Experience the excitement and fun involved in creating musical theater. This two-week intensive is for teens interested in becoming "triple threats." Working with professional musical theater performers, participants can explore dance styles, vocal performance, and acting for the musical stage. The session will culminate with an informal presentation for friends and family.

Session III: Entrance to Professional Theater 
For students entering grades 9 through 12
August 8-19, 2016  Monday through Friday

Under the guidance of working theater professionals, participants will explore a wide variety of contemporary theater studies including monologues, scene study and playwriting. While this session is suitable for students new to theater, it is also an excellent building block for the ambitious teen wishing to develop stronger ties to the professional community.  The session will culminate with an informal presentation for friends and family.

Check out our amazing instructors!

Teen Council

The Teen Council at Portland Center Stage is composed of high school students who desire a deeper involvement with professional theater and opportunities to take part in advanced theater experiences.  In exchange for serving as ambassadors for PCS, teens can earn free tickets to all of the productions at PCS, enrollment in workshops taught by working actors, backstage interviews with cast, and perhaps a party here and there.  Activities are as wide and varied as the teen council can dream up.  Typically the teen council meets on the first Sunday of every month from October to June.

For more information, pelase email or call 503-445-3795.

Stumptown Speaker Series

Organized by and for high school students, the Stumptown Speaker Series aims to provide easily accessible insights into business, leadership, and entrepreneurship as a potential career for students of all demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds. 


Community programs

Our expansive Community Programs connect artists to resources, audiences to new work, and theatre to other creative mediums. Visit our Community Program Archive for an inventory of previous events.

Show Related Programs

Prologues and Q&As - Learn more about the play you are about to see at one of our informational Prologues, immediately prior to all Tuesday through Friday performances at 6:55 p.m.  Hear contributors from the cast and creative team discuss each production at one of our Q&A’s, following all Thursday 12:00 noon and Saturday 2pm matinee performances.

The Forum - Deepen your engagement with the work on stage at in-depth discussions moderated by Portland Center Stage staff. The Forum leads theatergoers through a thoughtful investigation of each play’s themes, cultural context, and historical impact.

Our Town programs

Sex with Strangers programs

  • Booty Call – A night of dirty, outrageous and funny stories from local writers and comedians.  Featuring Bri Pruett, Justin Taylor, Monica Drake and Robyn Bateman

Free (or very cheap) and Open to the Public

Social Hours - Select weekday evenings from 6pm to 7pm for Happy Hour and select weekend days from 12pm to 1pm for Brunch Hour.  Light hors d’oeuvres and the first beer or glass of wine is on us!

The Gerding Theater at the Armory has existed as a civic and cultural hub in Portland for generations. As part of our commitment to that legacy, Portland Center Stage invites talent from across the city’s creative landscape to host custom-curated events each week inside our historic home. These social hours provide a fun setting in which to meet creative personalities and exchange perspectives.  See who is hosting here


Free Music - Local musicians playing in the Gerding Theater Lobby for free public performances, including the Tuesday evening series Local Spins, produced by Portland Radio Project.  Up next . . .

  • Tim Snider on 10/6 at 6:30pm

  • Eric John Kaiser on 10/13 at 6:30pm

  • Acoustic Minds on 10/20 at 6:30pm


Partnerships - Portland Center Stage shares its space and resources throughout the year with community partners to bring original content, new audiences, emerging talent, and sheer entertainment into the Gerding Theater at the Armory. Regular events include the Portland Poetry Slam, comedy acts such as Improv All-Stars, the August Wilson Red Door Project’s monologue competition, countless staged readings, and other custom performances.  Coming up . . .

  • Portland Poetry Slam on October 4 at 6:00 p.m.

Deeper Engagement

Community Labs 
Taught by a diverse pool of talented professionals from throughout the region and beyond, our Community Labs provide recurring opportunities for anyone interested in learning more about the living stage and other storytelling art forms.  Coming up . . .

Docent Tours
Get the full story of how the Armory Annex transformed from an 1891 military drilling site to a public meeting space, to a beer storage facility, to one of the world’s most sustainable performing arts centers. See the inner workings of Portland’s largest professional theatre company, while learning about our one-of-a-kind Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) facility. Tours begin in the main lobby, on the first and third Saturday of each month at 12:00 noon.

Free and open to the public. No registration required. Private tours available upon request.

Resource Guides
Immerse yourself in the world of the play with help from one of our guides, containing detailed information and resource materials compiled by Portland Center Stage staff. Available on the education page of our website.

education & community programs sponsors

Education Programs are supported in part by contributions from:

Community Programs are supported in part by contributions from:


Additional contributors:

James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation

Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts

Regional Arts & Culture Council

Craig & Y. Lynne Johnston

H.W. & D.C.H. Irwin Foundation

Autzen Foundation

Holzman Foundation

Mentor Graphics Foundation

Juan Young Trust


Our Town
September 12 — October 11

Sex with Strangers
October 10 — November 22

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Season Sponsors