About The Theater
Now in its 26th season, Portland Center Stage (PCS) is the largest producing theater in Portland, Oregon, and is among the top 20 professional regional theaters in America. Established in 1988 as an offshoot of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, PCS became an independent theater in 1994 and has been under the leadership of Artistic Director Chris Coleman since May, 2000. PCS stages at least ten major productions annually in two theaters located inside the Gerding Theater at the Armory: the 590-seat Main Stage and the 190-seat Ellyn Bye Studio. An affiliate of the League of Regional Theatres, Actor’s Equity Association and Theatre Communications Group, PCS produces a blend of classical, contemporary and premiere works in addition to its annual summer playwrights festival, JAW. In its home at the Portland Armory, PCS has more than 9,000 season ticket holders and attracts an annual audience of nearly 150,000 theater-goers of all ages.
PCS also offers a variety of education and outreach programs for curious minds from six to 106, including discussions, classes, workshops and partnerships with organizations throughout the Portland metro area.
Portland Center Stage’s home since fall 2006 — the Gerding Theater at the Armory — is the first historic rehabilitation on the National Historic Register, and the first performing arts venue to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Platinum rating. The design includes efficient use of energy, water and building materials that lower operating expenses as well as the building’s impact on the environment.
Portland Center Stage inspires our community by bringing stories to life in unexpected ways.
Theater brings us together, to sit near one another, to hear stories, to lift our voices in song. Theater creates worlds like no others. Its immediacy cannot be duplicated. Its intensity cannot be matched. A playwright’s miraculous words, directed with insight and acted with passion, elicit laughter, sorrow, astonishment, enlightenment and inspiration. Suddenly, we are not alone.
At a time in our history when we all wonder how we can live together on this planet, our need for community feels more important than ever. When we gather in the theater, feelings are magnified, commonalities are illuminated, prejudices are challenged and our hearts are opened.
Theater is communal. An actor speaks a playwright’s words. Another answers. Dialogue begins; melody rises. The audience adds its own energy, rhythm, breath; harmony emerges—all of it entwining together in a shared experience of power and exhilaration.
PCS has joined with you in theatrical celebration for more than 25 years. When we opened our new venue at the Gerding Theater at the Armory, we promised a new vision, new energy, a new attitude and new work. Today, there is fire onstage, excitement in the building and high anticipation as we bring you magnificent writers of timeless stories. And each is offered with the vigor, verve and vitality you’ve come to expect at PCS.
PCS began as OSF Portland, the northern sibling of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. After years of planning and preparation, the company was successfully launched on November 12, 1988 with an opening night performance of Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House and a gala celebration. With Dennis Bigelow as Artistic Producer, the company grew steadily in its first four years, producing five to six shows each season at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. In the fall of 1992, Pat Patton was named Associate Artistic Director/Portland by OSF, and guided the company's growth for the next two seasons, its last as a branch of OSF.
In September 1993, after five successful seasons, the Festival’s Board of Directors approved a recommendation from its Portland ad hoc committee that the Portland branch become an independent theater company, starting with the 1994-1995 season. In the spring of 1994, Elizabeth Huddle was selected as Producing Artistic Director to oversee both the artistic and administrative sides of the company.
In May, 2000, Chris Coleman, co-founder and Artistic Director of Actor’s Express in Atlanta, became the theater’s fourth Artistic Director. In his first season he launched several creative initiatives, including the production of A New Brain, the theater’s first musical, and its first second stage production, Dael Orlandersmith’s one-woman show The Gimmick. Under his leadership, PCS received the largest gift in the theater’s history at that time—a $1.35 million, three-year grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust. In the 2003-2004 season, PCS expanded the number of productions from six to seven and began presenting works in both the Winningstad and Newmark Theatres.
In April 2004 the company announced a $32.9 million capital campaign to build a new theater complex in the historic Portland Armory building. The new facility houses a 599-seat main stage theater; a smaller, 199-seat black box theater; administrative offices; a rehearsal hall; and production facilities.
The new Gerding Theater at the Armory opened to the public with a community celebration on October 1, 2006.
Board of Directors
N. Christian Anderson, III
Peter V. Potwin
Chrys A. Martin
Immediate Past Chair
& Armory Theater Fund Chair
J. Greg Ness
& Capital Campaign Chair
Julie S. Vigeland
Christopher P. Cline
Gail Hayes Davis
David R. Lofland, Jr.
Karen O’Connor Kruse
H. Pat Ritz
Steven E. Wynne
Download the Portland Center Stage Annual Report 2012–2013.
AUDITION HOTLINE: 503-445-3849
PCS is a LORT B Theater and is required to hire actors who are members of Actors’ Equity Association. We hire non-union actors when possible and in accordance with the union rules. More information about Actors’ Equity can be found at actorsequity.org.
Actors are hired on a show-by-show basis during the season and auditions for individual shows are by invitation only. PCS holds open general auditions annually in the spring. These auditions are announced on the AEA hotline and the Oregonian callboard. If you are a member of Actors’ Equity Association, planning to be in Portland and would like to schedule an audition, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any general audition, please prepare two contrasting one minute monologues and provide two 8″x 10″ photos and current resumes.
The artistic staff at PCS tries to see as many shows as possible in the Portland area. If you would like us to come and see your work please send an invitation email to email@example.com. We regret that it is impossible for us to see every production.
The casting director for PCS is Associate Artistic Director Rose Riordan.
At this time we are not accepting unsolicited script submission for general season consideration. We will not return any unsolicited scripts we receive. If you are interested in submitting a script for JAW: A Playwrights Festival, visit the JAW Script Submission page.
A Small Fire
February 22 — March 23
February 1 — March 16
Keep In Touch
Social media resources
PCS maintains an active presence on social media entities. Join us on: