Early birds, script-chasers, workshop-watchers and culture vultures already know: Fertile Ground Festival is where you go to see Portland’s newest performance works first.
The 11-day festival, produced by the nonprofit Portland Area Theater Alliance (PATA) and held in late January and early February, is distinct from other cities’ “fringe” fests in two important regards: 1) It only features local producers, and 2) it’s non-juried, waving creators through an open door to access the critics they value most: audiences.
As you might imagine, that means there’s a lot to see. In 2015, the seventh annual festival featured more than 75 new works from over 40 producers. The lineup is varied and abundant, packed with theater and dance, but offering flourishes of comedy and musical theater, too. There’s way more to see than one person can manage, and stumbling into something on your own that turns out to be fabulous is part of the fun. The website has all the information you’ll need. Still, these offerings are a lot to process … but if you like your performance arts like your produce — locally sourced and partially raw — then you’re sure to enjoy Fertile Ground’s bounty.