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The city's largest theater company looks to engage the community and artists, while developing eight productions and more

COURTESY PHOTO - Portland Center Stage is instituting PCS Remix during the COVID-19 pandemic and government restrictions.Even the big companies like Portland Center Stage have to think bigger to stay alive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city's largest theater company, Portland Center Stage has introduced a groundbreaking initiative, PCS Remix, which "offers artistic brilliance, civic enrichment and (as soon as it's safe to gather) eight exhilarating, heart-soaring theater productions," promotions state.

PCS Remix programming includes shows, commissions, original works, play readings, community partnerships, classes and youth and school programs. It's meant to connect audiences and artists and cultural leaders in a variety of formats, including virtual and in-person. "Nimble programming" they are calling PCS Remix, which also serves as rebranding.

"Even in this incredibly unknown time, there is an abundance of beautiful, impactful work we can create with the talented artists in our community and beyond," said Marissa Wolf, PCS artistic director. "When we're able to gather again, I will be overjoyed to welcome audiences back to The Armory for the buoyant lineup of shows, and until that time, we're excited to connect with audiences virtually, generating a wellspring of engaging theatrical offerings."

Similarly, Artists Repertory Theatre put scores of artists and creators to work for its ART: Mercury Company. Projects include audio plays, videos and planning for future staged projects, funded through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Portland Center Stage has transformed its rehearsal hall into a recording studio suitable for socially distanced video production and will offer the space for local community partners.

The plan, which includes subscriptions, is as follows:

n Shows — Seven plays are continuing to be developed. They are "Frida ... A Self Portrait," "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity," August Wilson's "Gem of the Ocean," "Emma," the world premiere of "Young Americans," "Hair," and the return of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." Added to the lineup is "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," as its run had been halted because of the pandemic. Dates will be announced later.

• Commissions — New plays have been offered through Northwest Stories and JAW festival, and PCS Remix builds on the legacy by commissioning five new plays.

• Original works — The series gathers generative artists from a broad spectrum of creative expressions to make innovative, short theatrical pieces in dance, visual art and music for virtual or live presentation. It's tabbed a new era of innovation for PCS in its collaborations with artists.

• Play readings — Following weeklong workshops of new and classic plays, scene readings will be held in a playful, interactive format that includes conversations with top artists.

• Community partnerships — The First Thursday spirit enters your home, as the series features engaging events of music, dance and visual art and civic conversation and connects them with social and creative organizations.

• Classes — PCS Remix continues robust educational offerings for adults, woven with artists working on commissions, original works and new play readings.

• Youth/school programs — PCS will build on strong programming for students, parents and educators through school workshops, vision and voices and its teen council. When able, it'll put on student matinees, tours and post-show discussions.

The theater company is selling "risk-free" subscriptions and accepting donations, and offering specials for subscribers and donors.

It should be noted that PCS also received $875,000 in relief funds from the CARES Act, via the Oregon Legislature.

For more: www.pcs.org.


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