Portland Center Stage has commissioned four of the most passionate and inventive artists working today to lend their voices to a new series of plays, Northwest Stories. The four artists — James David Beaton, Mary Kathryn Nagle, Dan O’Brien and Lauren Yee — will craft plays that examine the Pacific Northwest with heart, humor and consummate humanity, creating works to enchant the senses and ignite dynamic dialogues about the events and places that define our region.
The writing process will span roughly two years, during which time Portland Center Stage’s artistic staff will provide creative and dramaturgical support tailored to the needs of each artist. The commissions are supported in part by The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability program. PCS was one of 26 arts organizations selected nationwide for this six-year, $52-million initiative aimed at developing practical insights into how exemplary performing arts organizations can successfully expand their audiences. These four commissions follow two Northwest Stories projects that are currently in development: Astoria: Part One, based on the best-selling book by Peter Stark and adapted by Chris Coleman, and Wild and Reckless, a new musical event by local folk rockers, Blitzen Trapper.
ABOUT NORTHWEST STORIES
Portland Center Stage’s Northwest Stories series is a celebration of the essence of our region. From fresh looks at history to dynamic explorations of contemporary culture, Northwest Stories blends adventurous storytelling with local impact, all created with the immediacy and vibrancy that only live performance can bring. PCS already has a rich history of producing productions that touch on the Northwest experience — with celebrated shows ranging from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to Snow Falling on Cedars and Crazy Enough. PCS also has a long history of developing new work for the stage. In the past 17 years, more than 70 scripts have been developed during its annual festival of new work, JAW: A Playwrights Festival. PCS has also produced 20 fully-staged world premieres. More than 150 professional theater companies have gone on to produce plays that were developed at PCS.
MARY KATHRYN NAGLE
Mary Kathryn Nagle was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She graduated summa cum laude from Tulane University Law School, where she was the recipient of the Judge John Minor Wisdom Award. Her play Manahatta was recently featured in The Public Theater’s inaugural Public Studio workshop production series. Other recent productions include Amerinda Inc.’s presentation of Miss Lead at 59E59 Theaters in 2014. Nagle is an alum of the 2013 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, and an alum of The Civilians’ 2014 Research & Development Group, where she developed her play, Fairly Traceable. Nagle is the executive director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program, designed to develop Native voices in the American theater and ensure that Native plays reach the American stage. She is also a partner at Pipestem Law, P.C., where she works to protect tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault. She is the author of Sliver of a Full Moon, a play that has traveled to theaters and law schools across the country to educate the public on the need for restoration of tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians in the 2013 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act. She has been commissioned by Arena Stage and The Rose Theater in Omaha, Nebraska.