Early birds, script-chasers and workshop-watchers already know: Fertile Ground Festival is where you go to see Portland’s newest performance works first. Produced by the nonprofit Portland Area Theater Alliance (PATA), this annual festival returned Jan. 30–Feb. 9, 2020.
Fertile Ground Festival 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. Offerings include theater and dance, along with flourishes of comedy, musical theater, multi-media performances, staged readings and more. Each year, there is 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. It also offers an opportunity to experience a variety of local performance spaces, including Brunish Theater, Milagro Theatre, CoHo Theatre and Portland Center Stage at The Armory.
If you like your performance arts like your produce — locally sourced and partially raw — then you’re sure to enjoy Fertile Ground’s bounty. A festival pass for access to the full 11-day festival can be purchased on their website.
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