Last Friday, March 27, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced that they were canceling their summer shows and laying off hundreds of staff—a devastating blow to the many artists, technicians, and OSF employees who abruptly found themselves out of work (not to mention the economic impact on Ashland). Soon after, Portland Center Stage followed suit, canceling the final three shows of their season and announcing that the Armory will remain closed until further notice.
These closures are only the most high-profile examples of the coronavirus’ impact on regional arts organizations. In addition to shuttered performances, classes, and community programs, many theaters were forced to cancel or reschedule major annual fundraising events that bring in tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Theater companies operate on thin margins under the best of circumstances; some are unlikely to recover without significant financial support from donors and funding organizations.
As Oregon Children’s Theatre put it in an email (subject line: “Don't let this be our last act”), “We expect that our company will lose more than $500,000 in crucial, sustaining revenue over the coming months. Quite simply, the future of the company—and the livelihoods of a whole community of artists, technicians, teachers, and support staff—are on the line during this uncertain period.”
The best way for patrons to support arts organizations is through direct donations (you can find links below). If you have tickets to an upcoming event, consider turning your purchase into a donation instead of asking for a refund.
To support individual artists who have lost work during this time, Portland’s Creative Laureate, Subashini Ganesan and Oregon’s Poet Laureate Kim Stafford have launched the Portland Area Artist Emergency Relief Fund, which will provide direct financial assistance to independent/freelance artists in the tri-county area.
What follows are updates from local theaters about cancellations and where you can donate to help keep them alive. Note: All of the below information is subject to change. Please contact individual companies directly for more details.
Artist Repertory Theater—Their last production of the season, Looking for Tiger Lily, has been postponed until summer or next season, and their fundraising gala was canceled. Donate here!
Bag and Baggage—Canceled the remainder of the run of The Measure of Innocence and plan to announce a weekly series of live-streamed programming, in collaboration with other artists and arts organizations in the Portland area. Donate here!
BodyVox—Their spring show, NINETEEN*TWENTY, has been rescheduled to December. On their website, BodyVox is making full length shows available for streaming.
Boom Arts—Boom is postponing the April production of Blank most likely until next season. Boom is still currently planning to produce an outdoor festival at the end of June, but will make a final decision by early May. Donate here!
Broadway Rose—Broadway Rose has canceled its spring production of Ain’t Misbehavin’. Their 2020 season will continue as scheduled with Crazy for You, opening July 2, 2020. Donate here!
Clackamas Rep—Clackamas Repertory Theatre had to cancel their annual gala, their only fundraiser of the year. Donate here!
CoHo—CoHo has canceled all programming through May 17 and is postponing روبنز Bee, the final show in their current season. Donate here!
Corrib—Canceled their fundraising gala as well as their spring show, Kissing the Witch. Donate here!
Defunkt—Delaying their production of Carrie Barrett’s To Us! until next season. Donate here!
Funhouse—All events are canceled until further notice. Donate here!
Fuse—Fuse will be postponing this year’s productions of The Pursuit of Happiness and The Fear of Speaking. Donate here!
Hand2Mouth—Canceled their production of Danse Macabre, and are planning on moving their production of Slumber Party, originally set for May, to the fall. Donate here!
Imago—FORK AND FORK AND FORK AND FORK has been canceled. Donate here!
Kickstand Comedy—Live programming at Kickstand postponed indefinitely during pandemic, including all live shows and classes at the theater. Online classes will be available, as well as new streaming programs and content. Donate here!
MediaRites—MediaRites has been forced to cancel two of The Ism Project's touring shows in April. Donate here!
Milagro—Canceled their remaining productions of the season, The Corrido of the San Patricios, and The Living Life of the Daughter Mira. Donate here!
New Expressive Works—Everything is temporarily canceled at New Expressive Works, including classes and performances. Donate here!
Northwest Children’s Theatre—Elephant & Piggie’s We are in a Play performances in Portland, Hillsboro, and Sherwood are postponed, as are their spring classes. You can find plenty of kid-friendly content, including online classes, on their website. Donate here!
NW Dance Project— Classes and company activity are suspended and their annual fundraising Spring Gala has been postponed. Ticket holders will be contacted as soon as possible with more information. Donate here!
OBT—Beautiful Decay has been postponed to June 5-13, 2020 and will replace their performance of The Americans 2.0, which has been canceled. Donate here!
Oregon Children’s Theatre—OCT has canceled their 2019-2020 performance season and spring classes, including all public performances, field trips, and school shows. Donate here!
PassinArt—August Wilson’s Seven Guitars at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center has been canceled. Donate here!
Portland Center Stage—PCS has canceled the remainder of their season. Donate here!
Portland Opera—Portland Opera is canceling all performances of Vivaldi's Bajazet at the Newmark Theatre. Donate here!
Portland Playhouse—Their production of Thurgood has been delayed. Donate here!
Profile Theater—The remainder of Profile Theater’s season has been postponed as well as their April 24 gala. Fundraising efforts have been moved online. Donate here!
The Reformers—The Reformers have postponed The Landlord’s Game. Donate here!
Rutabaga Story Co.—Rutabaga Story Co is postponing their production of An Irish Exit until the fall of 2020. Donate here!
Shaking the Tree—Canceled The Antipodes and spring classes. Donate here!
Siren Theater—All programming has been postponed indefinitely. Support the theater by buying a Siren T-shirt online. Donate here!
The Theatre Company—The Moors has been postponed.
Theatre Vertigo—Everything You Touch has been postponed until further notice. Donate here!
Third Rail—Programming (Incognito, Mother, Come Home, and Mary Jane) has been postponed. National Theatre Live tickets will be honored for a future broadcast. Donate here!
Triangle—Ticket sales are currently suspended for Blood Brothers. Donate here!
Twilight Theater Company—Has been forced to postpone their current production of A Feminine Ending by Sarah Treem. Donate here!
Alison Hallett is a former Arts Editor at the Portland Mercury. She currently works as the Director of Education & Community Engagement at the Hollywood Theatre/Movie Madness. Pat Moran is a local theater artist and educator.