Portland Center Stage at The Armory

aka The Armory   |   Portland, OR   |  www.pcs.org

Mission

Portland Center Stage (PCS) celebrates our shared humanity through exhilarating theatrical experiences that kindle connection and catalyze civic conversation. Our company produces an annual season of stage productions, develops new theatrical work, and builds community through a wide array of education and engagement programs. Our aim is to be arts home for everyone in the Pacific Northwest, pursuing a more just and equitable society through storytelling.

Ruling year info

1994

Artistic Director

Ms. Marissa Wolf

Managing Director

Ms. Cynthia Fuhrman

Main address

128 NW 11th Avenue

Portland, OR 97209 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

93-1134865

NTEE code info

Performing Arts (A60)

Theater (A65)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Through storytelling, theater helps meet our collective need for deeper exploration and greater understanding of human complexity and experience. As a regional theater company, Portland Center Stage is committed to bringing to its stages plays that present distinctive voices, inspire human connection, and reflect the rich diversity to be found in our community and in American culture.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Artistic Programming

Portland Center Stage at The Armory now produces an annual season of 11-12 plays in the two performance spaces of the Gerding Theater at The Armory: the 580-seat U. S. Bank Main Stage and the 190-seat Ellyn Bye Studio. With the goal of presenting diverse voices and cultural perspectives, our productions range from classics by Shakespeare and Shaw, to American musicals, to world premieres by such contemporary playwrights as Adam Bock, Yussef El Guindi, Jordan Harrison, Mary Kathryn Nagle, Dan O'Brien, and DeLanna Studi.

Developing new works of theater is a key component of PCS's artistic vision. The cornerstone of the company's new play program is the annual JAW ("Just Add Water"): A Playwrights Festival. Held each July since 1999, JAW continues to grow in national recognition as a wellspring for original American plays. The festival brings four playwrights to PCS where they spend two weeks working with directors, dramaturgs, and actors from across the country to develop their new plays, which are selected in a blind-reading process from some 200 submitted scripts. JAW culminates in the "Big Weekend," which celebrates creativity across art forms. Along with staged public readings of the playwrights' works, the "Big Weekend" offers a variety of free public events, including performances by local dancers, musicians, and other artists; visual arts displays; staged readings of plays written by teens from PCS's "Visions & Voices" program; and Community Artist Labs facilitated by members of the JAW ensemble.

Another vehicle for developing new work is PCS's "Northwest Stories" initiative, which aims to create plays that illuminate and ignite dynamic dialogues about the events and places that define the Pacific Northwest, from fresh looks at history to explorations of contemporary culture. Among the "Northwest Stories" PCS has premiered are Chris Coleman's two-part epic, "Astoria," Blitzen Trapper's "Wild and Reckless," and Mary Kathryn Nagle's "Crossing Mnisose."

Population(s) Served
Adults

By enabling young people to make a connection with the arts – which research and our own anecdotal experience have repeatedly shown can have profound personal and social impact – Portland Center Stage at The Armory also helps to develop young adults who will make positive, creative contributions to their communities. Focusing on youth ages 11-18, PCS’s education programs include:

STAGE DOOR, which provides young people with a wide array of theater-related arts learning experiences that help support their academic success. The program offers deeply subsidized tickets to PCS productions, including free tickets for Title I schools, arts magnet schools, and youth-focused nonprofits (e.g. Outside In, New Avenues for Youth). Stage Door also provides on-line resource guides, behind-the-scenes tours of The Armory (a Platinum LEED historic renovation), and in-school or pre-show workshops -- all free of charge -- as well as assistance with transportation and substitute teacher costs.

VISIONS & VOICES, which brings theater artists into secondary schools to teach free classes in Playwriting and Theater Fundamentals. The Playwriting component comprises month-long intensives in which students learn the basic elements of writing for theater, completing a brief play as their final project. The program culminates in a spring showcase of student works from all the residency sites, performed by professional actors. Six Visions & Voices teens are also chosen to be Promising Playwrights in PCS's annual JAW (Just Add Water): A Playwrights Festival, where they work alongside professional theater artists from across the country. In Theater Fundamentals residencies, students learn the basics of acting, playwriting, stagecraft, etc., and then perform in a school assembly or other public showcase; this year, for example, students in one residency learned scenes from "The Tempest," which they performed at Portland Playhouse's Fall Festival of Shakespeare.

SUMMER TEEN ACADEMY, which offers full-day, two-week summer intensives for teens taught by professionals from Portland's theater community. Intensives have included Professional Acting and Audition, Production and Technical Theater, and Musical Theater.

TEEN COUNCIL, created by and for teens, is a group of Portland area high school students who wish to further their involvement with the professional theater community and gain opportunities for advanced theater experiences. Members attend plays at PCS and various local theaters, attend free master classes and workshops, meet with local and visiting artists, contribute blog posts to the PCS Teens and Alumni Facebook page, and create their own awareness and social events.

JOB SHADOWING AND INTERNSHIPS, which enable teens to explore career possibilities in the performing arts.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Children and youth

Portland Center Stage offers theater training and related studies for people at all degrees of involvement with the living stage. Workshops and classes range from acting, play analysis, and playwriting to improvisation, ensemble theater, and solo performance. All courses are taught by exceptional teachers drawn from Portland's diverse community of talented working professionals, as well as visiting artists.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Since moving into The Armory in 2006, PCS’s community engagement has become an even more integral part of the theater’s mission and a deeply felt responsibility. With the goal of “reclaiming theater’s capacity to stand at the center of a community’s daily life,” PCS partners with a wide array of sustainability, education, human services, and cultural groups to present free public programs that build on the themes of PCS’s plays with the goal of expanding access, increasing participation from diverse constituencies, and stimulating broader conversation about community aspirations and ideas. Programs range from town halls, panel discussions, and symposiums to music and dance concerts, film screenings, and visual arts exhibits. A few our 150+ partners in the past year include the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Advance Gender Equity in the Arts, Black Women for Peace, Columbia Land Trust, Kick Ass Oregon History, Latino Network, Mt. Hood Cherokees, and the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Rae Mona Reynolds Memorial Award in recognition of exemplary commitment to educational theatre 2008

Oregon Theatre Arts Association

ULI Awards for Excellence: The Americas for the Gerding Theater at the Armory 2007

Urban Land Institute

AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Awards – Gerding Theater at the Armory Recognizing “Environmental, Technical, Aesthetic Excellence” 2007

American Institute of Architects

“Preservation in Action” Pinnacle Award 2008

Architectural Heritage Center/Bosco-Milligan Foundation.

Community Partner Award for outstanding contributions in promoting career and college readiness 2010

Summer Youth Connect 2010

Special Achievement Award recognizing PCS's annual JAW: A Playwrights Festival 2011

Portland Civic Theatre Guild

Top Ten (#6) Oregon's Most Admired Companies Nonprofit 2011

Portland Business Journal

Affiliations & memberships

Actor's Equity Association 1988

League of Resident Theatres (LORT) 1988

Theatre Communications Groups - Constituent Theatre 1988

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of performances

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Artistic Programming

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

2021: Our theater was shut down due to COVID, so no in-person performances were offered. Instead, we presented 59 virtual productions and play readings.

Total number of audience members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Adolescents, Preteens

Related Program

Artistic Programming

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

2021: In-person programming remained suspended due to COVID-19.

Total number of youth served by education programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents, Preteens

Related Program

Youth Education Outreach Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

2021: Except for limited-size Teen Academy classes, education programs were virtual. Numbers reflect suspension of field trips from schools.

Total number of participants in community engagement programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Adolescents, Preteens

Related Program

Community Engagement Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

2021: Most programs were virtual due to COVID shutdown.

Total number of works developed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Artistic Programming

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

2021: Original Works initiative presented 25 virtual world premieres. We also commissioned three new plays.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.



* Artistic Work: To increase the diversity seen on stage and in our creative teams and to significantly amplify the level of investment in the development and production of new artistic work.
* Audience Development: To grow and increase the diversity our audiences.
* Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA): To achieve an inclusive, equitable, safe, and diverse organizational environment and culture as part of our commitment to building an anti-racist and truly vibrant future for the American theater.
* Financial Stability: To enhance PCS's financial stability by increasing contributed income and building reserves.

Following the arrival of Marissa Wolf as the theater's new Artistic Director in late 2018, PCS began developing an updated strategic plan in summer 2019. However, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and other organizational developments - including restructuring our governance as part of our commitment to anti-racist theater - meant the planning process was suspended. We expect to resume our work toward creating a new strategic plan in early 2022.

Strategies in support of PCS's goals include:

* Artistic Work: Engage donors around the impact of new work; expand the scope of the JAW festival; commission new plays, particularly works from women and people of color;
* Audience Development: PCS was one of 26 arts organizations nationwide to receive a Wallace Foundation Building Audiences for Sustainability Grant and has implemented a range of strategies to attract more diverse patrons, especially young people, including expanded community programs, a community awareness campaign, and more.
* Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA): Implement more assertive outreach and create recruitment plans that reach diverse candidate pools, continue the IDEA team's work in trainings, practices review, etc., develop a new vendor selection process, and prioritize IDEA in board recruitment.
* Financial Stability: Pay off the $1.8M remaining on The Armory's mortgage, establish a $2M Building Fund for facility needs, and create a $1M cash reserve.

Portland Center Stage is now in its 34th season as a non-profit producing theater, with a strong professional management team, a committed board of directors, and a talented, highly experienced artistic, production, and administrative staff. Our 16-member Leadership Committee, comprising department leads and other interested staff, is co-led by Managing Director Cynthia Fuhrman, who has been with PCS for nearly two decades in a range of capacities. Other staff committees include Safety, Compensation, and IDEA, with the latter including subcommittees for Training and Education, Communications, and Programs.

Portland Center Stage is a member of of the League of Resident Theaters (LORT) and Theatre Communications Group, Portland Business Alliance and Travel Portland. PCS operates under agreements with LORT, Actors' Equity Association, and the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers.

* Artistic Work: PCS produced the world premiere of Brittany K. Allen's REDWOOD in October 2019. Although in-person programs were suspended due to the pandemic, we developed the Original Works series, which commissioned artists from a broad spectrum of creative expressions (dance, music, theater, etc.) to make innovative, short theatrical pieces that were premiered virtually, including RENAISSANCE TECHNICALLY (Josie Seid, lead artist); EARTH WITHOUT BORDERS/TIERRA SIN FRONTERAS (Brisa Maria Gonzalez, lead artist); THE BELLS THAT STILL CAN RING (Isaac Lamb, lead artist); PROTOCOL, PART I (Phil Johnson, lead artist); and SUMMERFIELD ESTATES (Ashley Song Mellinger, lead artist). We currently have two works under commission: YOUNG AMERICANS, by Lauren Yee, and HOMBRES, an original musical being created by William Carlos Angulo, Isaac Gomez, and Michelle J. Rodriguez

* Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA): Over the past two years, we have increased our focus on IDEA issues, particularly in response to the open letter, (“We See You White American Theater”) issued in June 2020 by The Ground We Stand On collective of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) theater makers. The letter was followed by a comprehensive list of demands aimed toward building an anti-racist, equitable, and truly vibrant future for the American theater. Throughout the ensuing months, PCS's entire staff met weekly to work through each demand; our initial response can be found at on PCS's website at www.pcs.org/idea.

We also reached the decision that our organizational governance needed to be dramatically restructured and, by June 30, 2021, the majority of the then-current board of directors had stepped down. The new board, currently seven members, has made the commitment to re-imagining governance for PCS while rebuilding board membership to a minimum of 15 by the end of June 2022.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Audience members (subscribers and single ticket buyers); education program participants (youth, educators, et al.); community program participants (attendees, artists, civic and cultural organizations, and other community partners); and members of the theater/arts community (artists, fellow arts organizations, et al.)

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Our Teen Academy, which has for years been a summer program of theater intensives, was expanded in 2020-21 to offer weekend classes and workshops (limited capacity and physically distanced) year-round. This was in response to verbal and written feedback from youth and parents, who felt a need for that connection to the arts and to one another, especially during the isolation of COVID-19 shutdowns.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Feedback from those we serve has informed selection and implementation of our programs, particularly in the areas of youth education and community programs, where our partners are the driving force.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Portland Center Stage at The Armory
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Portland Center Stage at The Armory

Board of directors
as of 02/16/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Stacey Caldwell-Roberts

Barrett Business Services, Inc.

Term: 2019 - 2022

Ted Austin

U.S. Bank

Sharon Barnes

Community Activist

Phil Beyl

GBD Architects

Mary Boyle

Civic Volunteer

Greg Chandler

The Standard

Sarah Crooks

Perkins, Coie, LLP

Gustavo Cruz, Jr.

Farleigh Wada Witt

Saskia DeBoer

Stoel Rives, LLP

Kathy Douglas

State Investments, LLC

Lana Finley

Community Activist

Brigid Flanigan

Shamrock Holdings, LLC

Diana Gerding

Community Volunteer

Mike Golub

Portland Timbers

Tasca Gulick

Community Activist

Lani Hayward

Community Activist

Betsy Henning

AHA! Strategic Communications

Renee Holzman

Community Volunteer

Linda Illig

Community Volunteer

Yuki "Lynne" Johnston

Advocate for the Arts

Jim Knoll

James L. Knoll, PC

Dedre Marriott

Retired CEO & Professor

Joseph Mitchoff

Viridian Reclaimed Wood

Karen O'Connor

Stoel Rives, LLP

Turid Owren

Tonkon Torp, LLP

Dana Rasmussen

Retired Attorney

Joseph Sawicki

Mentor Graphics

Dr. Ann Sehdev

Cascade Pathology

Doug Smith

Retired SVP, AMEC Foster

Tyler Tatman

Intel

Rosemarie Thompson

Roselake Property & Designs

Michelle Weisenbach

Key Bank

Steve Wynne

Moda Health

J. Greg Ness

Director Emeritus, The Standard

H. Pat Ritz

Director Emeritus, Footwear Specialties Intl.

Julie Vigeland

Director Emeritus

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/30/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic (2+ races/ethnicities)
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/30/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.