Our Mission

Portal Theatre is a group of artists dedicated to making exciting, challenging and eclectic new theatre on a variety of topics that are socially and culturally relevant.  Through our company-created works, we engage in conversation with our audiences in ways that are both illuminating and entertaining.


We’re Small by design

 

Honestly, while we want as many people as possible to see our work, we choose to be a small theatre company.  We're nomadic (and have no plans for a permanent building), we plan to keep the company size to a select handful of people, are our shows aren't designed to play in huge houses.  We like intimacy, we like tales told well, we won't have a "season," and we'll rarely do more than one new show a year.  We like it that way.

Our values

About our name

We make our own theatre

 

A life in the theatre is, more often than not, about waiting around for someone else to give you a job.  (It's called "the audition process.")  It's a bit like begging to be allowed to show your art.  We'd rather not.  We'd rather make our own, take our chances, and at the end of the day, have something we created, from the ground up.  Our art.  Our choices.  Our risks and rewards.

It's all about the work

 

Simply put:  we want to make excellent theatre.  To that end, we experiment, we plan, we build, we dream.  Sometimes we dream big.  And while every dream (and every piece of theatre) has its risks, we'd rather fall on our faces doing something we really love doing, than settle for anything else.

We have a tribal mentality 


One pretty good definition of theatre is that it involves actors, a playing space, and an audience.  The audience is really important to us.  We want our audiences to be a part of what we do, through giving us feedback, supporting us, and being part of our tribe.  We're serious about that.  Jump in!

Portal.  noun:  a door, gate or entrance.  A way in.  Any entrance or access to a place.

 

Theatre is all about accessing new places, new people, new ideas, new stories.  The company enters into new worlds by exploring these things - we look for a doorway, a way in.  And we build a show about that.


Then, we invite our audience to walk through the door with us.  To enter into this new world, explore its contours, its uniqueness, and its surprises.  You might not always know what's on the other side, but we invite you to step through, to explore, to experience this new world.


We also believe in passing it on.  So, we hope that Portal Theatre will eventually be a gateway for other new and exciting companies to begin their journey, to find a way in.

Portal Theatre is affiliated with Western Oregon University in Monmouth, OR. The university supports Portal Theatre by providing rehearsal space, administering our payroll and other financial considerations, and a host of other things that help us do our work. We are grateful for WOU's continued support!

Michael Phillips. Artistic Director

Michael is delighted to pursue this grand and adventurous journey called Portal Theatre!  He has been a stage director for 30 years, directing more than 50 scripted and devised plays, both professionally and at the university level.  While loving the traditional theatre, he is equally dedicated to the idea that artists can make their own work, creating the life they want in the theatre, and began Portal Theatre as a way to put that into action.  For his day job, he is a Professor in the Theatre and Dance department at Western Oregon University, where he teaches Theatre History, Directing, Performance Art, and more. Michael is committed to providing opportunities both to working professionals and emerging artists (typically recent graduates or graduating seniors at WOU), with an eye to giving them an early career experience and then encouraging them to go out and create their own works.

For Cast bios, go to this page!

Mary Phillips, Managing Director

Mary's passion is in connecting people and ideas to turn ideas into reality.  The reality of Portal Theatre is in empowering artists to be play to their own strengths and be the architects of their own careers in theatre.  A physical chemist by training, Mary brings to Portal 15 years of experience in innovation, entrepreneurship, and fundraising gained from years working at Oregon Health and Science University and Oregon State University  She is excited to be working on the business side of things for Portal Theatre so Michael can concentrate on the artistry of guiding the company members in collaboratively creating great, new works.

We value independence

 

We believe this with all our hearts:  artists do not need anyone's permission to create art.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with going the traditional route of applying for jobs, going to auditions, and hoping to get hired, we decide to create art on our own terms.  We value the ability to create what we want, when we want, and to perform it where we want.  

It's not just about us

 

Part of the motivation in starting the company was to prove that, with the right amount of desire and determination, this can be done!  And, we want to be a group that encourages that artistic spirit in others.  So, the long range goal is to act as a resource for others who want to go on a similar journey.

simple but not simplistic

 

Finally, we're a company with a pretty simple goal:  create one new work a year, then show it to people.  Tour it around.  Take it to festivals.  That simple goal, however, doesn't mean that our shows will be simplistic.  We want to do a range of eclectic works, in a variety of styles, about subjects that we really care about.  And, we believe that you'll care about too.  

we believe in entrepreneurship

 

Theatre is an art, yes.  But, a theatre company is also a business.  We embrace that, and we're learning everything we can to make the business of theatre successful.  And, in the long term, we hope to be an incubator of sorts for up and coming companies, to help them succeed.  We believe in paying it forward, in every way we know how.

Our Friends
We're a small company, and we couldn't do what we do without the gracious support of some of our friends.  Special thanks go to:

Diane Tarter for all her expertise and help on all of our graphical material for No Belles and Things We (never) Learned in Sex Ed, including our logo and posters.

Lance MacCarty for his expertise in designing our graphics and posters for 73 Seconds.

Nate Dunaway for his videography help with our Indiegogo campaign.

You're all the best!  Thank you!