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JAW New Play Festival

JAW New Play Festival, July 22-24, 2022

We are thrilled to announce the return of our annual JAW New Play Festival! Please join us July 22-24 for readings of new scripts, our Teen Playwrights Showcase, plus performances from dynamic local artists, community labs, and more. 

All JAW events are free!
Tickets for the staged readings can be reserved in advance, but walk-ups are always welcome.
Scroll down for complete info, schedule, and ticket links.

This year, the play readings will all be held in the Ellyn Bye Studio, due to construction scheduled in the U.S. Bank Main Stage. A simulcast of the play readings will also be presented in the Mezzanine Lobby in case capacity is reached in the studio.

The Armory Bar will be open throughout the festival, with snacks and beverages available for purchase.

Playwrights & Plays

Headshot of Anya Pearson

Without A Formal Declaration of War by Anya Pearson
Directed by Nicole Watson
Friday, July 22 · 7:30 p.m. · Ellyn Bye Studio
The War in Vietnam rages, a revolution brews, and the FBI targets a community while Clytemnestra finds herself, and the world, on the brink of great change. Set in the section of East Oakland that will come to be known as The Killing Fields, PCS-commissioned writer Anya Pearson places characters from Aeschylus’ Agamemnon in 1969.

More Info & Free Tickets

Headshot of Tyler Andrew Jones

Even Faster Than a Blink by Tyler Andrew Jones
Directed by Chalia La Tour
Saturday, July 23 · 4 p.m. · Ellyn Bye Studio
When the pandemic hit, Taaliba Campbell gave up her life as an artist and moved back home to Richmond to help her mother run their family business, Campbell’s. A year after insurmountable grief and loss, and as the prospect of a loan begins to slip through their fingers, the whole family gathers to decide what is to become of Campbell’s and, unknowingly, each of their lives.

More Info & Free Tickets

Headshot of Larry Owens

Untitled Project by Larry Owens
Saturday, July 23 · 7:30 p.m. · Ellyn Bye Studio
Celebrated artist Larry Owens brings his unique energy to Portland in a one-person show penned and performed by him! With abundant humor, searing truth, and thrilling music, this one-of-a-kind piece comes alive with brilliant storytelling.

More Info & Free Tickets

JAW Teen Playwrights Showcase

Teen Playwrights Showcase
Sunday, July 24 · 1 p.m. · Ellyn Bye Studio · FREE
Experience some of the newest voices in theater! Teen playwrights will be selected following their deep involvement in PCS’s education programming, including in-school playwriting residencies, Teen Council membership, and Teen Academy classes. They will receive PCS commissions to write short scripts for JAW. The work they develop — dynamic 8-10 minute plays — will be performed by actors from the JAW company.

More Info & Free Tickets

Headshot of Leah Nanako Winkler

In association with Yale Repertory Theatre:
The Brightest Thing in the World by Leah Nanako Winkler
Directed by Margot Bordelon
Sunday, July 24 · 4 p.m. · Ellyn Bye Studio
Commissioned and developed by Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT, Artistic Director James Bundy, Managing Director Florie Seery.
Revival Bakery is the backdrop for a meet-cute made for the movies — charming Lane bakes special homemade treats for Steph and the two begin a once-in-a-lifetime romance that ripples through both their families. Even Lane’s older sister Della, who hasn’t been on a date in years, starts to open her heart up for romance. When the realness of life settles in, bringing in both the lightness and darkness of truth, each woman must grapple with their own limitations.

More Info & Free Tickets

Schedule of Events

Expand each section to see all events for that day.

Preview image for JAW Press Play: WWJP Street Dance Showcase

JAW Press Play: WWJP Street Dance Showcase

Fri, Jul 22, 6:30 p.m.  •  FREE

Presented by Jesus Rodales of WWJP, this wildly popular showcase features street, club, and urban dance styles, performed by artists from a variety of local dance crews.

Preview image for JAW Play Reading: *Without A Formal Declaration of War*

JAW Play Reading: Without A Formal Declaration of War

Fri, Jul 22, 7:30 p.m.  •  FREE

By Anya Pearson
Directed by Nicole Watson
A PCS Commission!
The War in Vietnam rages, a revolution brews, and the FBI targets a community while Clytemnestra finds herself, and the world, on the brink of great change. Set in the section of East Oakland that will come to be known as The Killing Fields, PCS-commissioned writer Anya Pearson places characters from Aeschylus’ Agamemnon in 1969.

Preview image for JAW Press Play: Machado Mijiga Trio

JAW Press Play: Machado Mijiga Trio

Sat, Jul 23, 3 p.m.  •  FREE

Classically-trained, multi-instrumentalist Machado Mijiga will lead a trio of musicians that blend jazz, hip hop, R&B, and sounds that reflect his intercultural heritage as part of this intimate but energetic performance.

Preview image for JAW Play Reading: *Even Faster Than a Blink*

JAW Play Reading: Even Faster Than a Blink

Sat, Jul 23, 4 p.m.  •  FREE

By Tyler Andrew Jones
Directed by Chalia La Tour

When the pandemic hit, Taaliba Campbell gave up her life as an artist and moved back home to Richmond to help her mother run their family business, Campbell’s. A year after insurmountable grief and loss, and as the prospect of a loan begins to slip through their fingers, the whole family gathers to decide what is to become of Campbell’s and, unknowingly, each of their lives.

Preview image for JAW Press Play: Espacio Flamenco Presents Tablao Flamenco PCS

JAW Press Play: Espacio Flamenco Presents Tablao Flamenco PCS

Sat, Jul 23, 6:30 p.m.  •  FREE

Enjoy live flamenco dance and instrumentation during Espacio Flamenco’s special Tablao Flamenco PCS, where improvisational performances will showcase the dynamic interplay between the music and dance of this multicultural art form. The event will feature flamenco dancers Nela McGuire and Shiho Travis, with singer Christina Lorentz, guitarist Brenna McDonald, and percussionist Nick Hutcheson.

Preview image for JAW Play Reading: Untitled Project

JAW Play Reading: Untitled Project

Sat, Jul 23, 7:30 p.m.  •  FREE

By Larry Owens
Celebrated artist Larry Owens brings his unique energy to Portland in a one-person show penned and performed by him! With abundant humor, searing truth, and thrilling music, this one-of-a-kind piece comes alive with brilliant storytelling.

Preview image for JAW Play Reading: Teen Playwrights Showcase

JAW Play Reading: Teen Playwrights Showcase

Sun, Jul 24, 1 p.m.  •  FREE

Featuring Short Plays by Miya AllenSean Fields, Ceph Tronco & Nevaeh Warren
Directed by Margot Bordelon
Mentoring & Dramaturgy by Award-Winning Playwright Sara Jean Accuardi
Experience some of the newest voices in theater! Four teen playwrights were selected following their deep involvement in PCS’s education programming, including in-school playwriting residencies, Teen Council membership, and/or Teen Academy classes. They've received PCS commissions to write short scripts for JAW. This event is your chance to see work they develop — dynamic 8-10 minute plays — performed by actors from the JAW company.

Preview image for JAW Press Play: Jermaine

JAW Press Play: Jermaine

Sun, Jul 24, 3 p.m.  •  FREE

Enjoy the cool, summertime vibes at JAW with a performance by Portland-based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jermaine, lead singer for The Kinky Brothers. Jermaine builds grooves with his loop pedal as the sound bed for his guitar-led songs about life and love, including covers and original tunes.

Preview image for JAW Play Reading: *The Brightest Thing in the World*

JAW Play Reading: The Brightest Thing in the World

Sun, Jul 24, 4 p.m.  •  FREE

By Leah Nanako Winkler
Directed by Margot Bordelon
In association with Yale Repertory Theatre

Revival Bakery is the backdrop for a meet-cute made for the movies — charming Lane bakes special homemade treats for Steph and the two begin a once-in-a-lifetime romance that ripples through both their families. Even Lane’s older sister Della, who hasn’t been on a date in years, starts to open her heart up for romance. When the realness of life settles in, bringing in both the lightness and darkness of truth, each woman must grapple with their own limitations.

Lab space is limited, so admission is by lottery. To enter the lottery, email education@pcs.org with your choice of labs in order of preference.

Dealing with the Hard Sh*& in Our Writing Lives: Writing Around Trauma, Core Wounds, Violence, and Heartbreaks with JAW Playwright Anya Pearson
Saturday, July 23 · 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. · FREE
Dive into the depths, explore the darkest parts of humanity, and emerge with/forge/create complex characters that feel authentic, alive, and vibrating with energy. How do you draw from or borrow or fictionalize personal experience in service of alchemy without retraumatizing or reopening your most deeply held wounds? What tools, tricks, safeguards, and ripcords can we put in place so that we can make the best possible art — art that changes the world — without costing ourselves too much.

The Subtext is the Text with JAW Actor Maiya Reaves
Sunday, July 24 · 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. · FREE
In this workshop, Maiya will teach the fundamentals of psychological gestures (physical action that reveals intention) as we craft and refine the play within the play. Connecting our movement and intentions, Maiya will take us through exercises that help us get lost in the driving needs and desires of a character while we find a fuller, more activated performance.

About JAW

The JAW New Play Festival is Portland Center Stage’s week-long assembling of artists and audiences to create new plays! Each July, artistic teams, including playwrights, directors, and actors, come together to rehearse — and a lot of times rewrite! — a new play. The final piece of the process happens during the weekend, when we share “music stand readings” with audiences so the playwrights can hear their work, often for the very first time!

Why We JAW:

  • Develop energizing work
    • We are committed to developing dope plays!
  • Champion exciting voices
    • We are invested in playwright-driven artistic growth, giving opportunities to fresh, engaging, powerful theatrical voices.
  • Connect with our communities 
    • We believe that audiences are active participants in the creation of new work. The audience is the final collaborator an artistic team needs to bring a play to life.

In addition to new play readings, Portland Center Stage presents Press Play events during the JAW festival weekend. To welcome people into the space, we offer pre-show performances and workshops, featuring dynamic local artists. These events include an ever-changing lineup of dance exhibitions of all genres, live music, visual art, choreographed movement showcases, interactive installations, and artist labs. All JAW events are free to the public and help introduce new audiences and community members to the breadth of talent in our city, and beyond.

JAW History

Since 1999, JAW has created a space for 88 playwrights to develop 91 plays. Most have gone on to receive professional productions across the country, including many world premieres at PCS.

Portland Center Stage is committed to identifying & interrupting instances of racism & all forms of oppression, through the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, & accessibility (IDEA).

Learn More

JAW Sponsors

Teen Playwrights Sponsors

2022-2023 Superstars

2022-2023 Supporting Sponsors

2022-2023 Producing Sponsors