This project is supported in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oregon Cultural Trust: Oregonians sustaining, developing and participating in our arts, heritage and humanities.

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For two weeks every summer, Portland Center Stage bursts at the seams with new play energy.  JAW (short for Just Add Water) fills the Armory with playwrights, actors, directors, dramaturgs, stage managers, production assistants, and sometimes even dogs and babies. Rehearsals fill up every nook and cranny of the building while the copy machine whirs day and night, with new pages and fresh scripts churning back into the rehearsal rooms. The two-week blur of activity ends with staged readings that are free and open to the public, and a smorgasbord of performances throughout the Armory from local theater and arts ensembles.

Since launching in 1999, JAW's principal focus continues to be the playwright and the creative process.   Four Playwrights chosen from nearly 200 submissions nationwide collaborate with directors, dramaturgs, actors, and other theater professionals from across the U.S. to read, revise, and sometimes completely re-write their scripts, discovering through the process what does or does not work in the transition from page to stage. Joining them are Promising Playwrights,  high school students selected from PCS’s Visions & Voices program, who write and develop their own short plays, working alongside the professionals. All of the playwrights’ works are then presented in staged readings for the public. 


                     AS ALWAYS, JAW IS FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.


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jaw plays & playwrights

The JAW Festival culminates with FREE Public Readings on the Main Stage. After two weeks of rehearsals, rewrites and rethinking the meaning of life we are ready to give you a first glimpse into new stories for the American theatre. A curtain-raiser precedes each public reading, compliments of our Promising Playwrights.

JAW 2014 will be July 14-27, with the public readings tentatively scheduled on July 25-27.

JAW 2014 Plays & Playwrights will be announced in May 2014.  For now, we read!

script submission

PCS will accept scripts for JAW 2014 from Nov 1, 2013 until Feb 1, 2014.
Who can submit?
  • Unsolicited scripts are accepted only from current Oregon residents
Which plays are eligible?
  • The submitted script must be full-length
  • Musicals are accepted
  • Submissions may have had a previous reading or workshop, but not a full production
How do I submit?
  • Submit scripts by email to
  • Scripts must be submitted as a pdf document
  • Submit your title page as a separate pdf
  • Title page should include playwright's address, phone number, and email
  • Please remove your name and the play’s title from all other script pages
  • Only electronic submissions will be accepted - Please do not send hard copies

For Musicals

  • Music can be submitted via email with individual MP3 attachments, or with a link to a dropbox
  • We do not need a score
For further information, contact us at jaw@pcs.orgTo help retain anonymity for blind reading, please do not email PCS staff individually with questions about the submission process.

press play

JAW hand-selects dynamic visual & performance pieces to animate our building and engage JAW audience members before every reading.  Buskers, dancers, musicians, and filmmakers spill out of the Armory and into its environs.
The JAW 2014 line-up will be announced in summer of 2014!  In the meantime, check out these photos from the 2013 festival.

Wes Guy & the Road Trip Massacre Crew
Polaris Dance Theatre

Venerable Showers of Beauty

community artist labs


Artists from across the nation conduct labs for our local community. Topics range from playwriting and directing to the biz. Admission is FREE, but in order to maintain a high level of quality, attendance for each Lab is limited and determined by random lottery. 

The 2014 Community Artist Labs will be announced in June 2014.


promising playwrights

New scripts from Portland-area high school playwrights serve as curtain-raisers Big Weekend readings.  These Promising Playwrights are selected from our Visions & Voices Playwriting Program, a residency program offered to Portland-area schools.

jaw staff

Just a few of the hardworking folks behind the JAW festival. Contact us at


Rose Riordan - JAW Festival Director

Kelsey Tyler - JAW Festival Producer

Brandon Woolley - JAW Festival  Assistant Director

Sarah Mitchell - JAW Festival Assistant Producer

Don Mason - JAW Festival Company Manager


April 5 — May 11

The Last Five Years
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