The August Wilson Red Door Project Presents

The August Wilson Red Door Festival

A Celebration of Wilson’s Work and Legacy as Chronicler of the African American Experience in the 20th Century

October 12 — December 30 Portland, OR

August Wilson was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose on-stage depictions of the modern African-American experience continue to influence artists of every color today. Throughout his plays, Wilson provided a voice to the disenfranchised, and revolutionized the representation of black Americans in theatre, as well as American theatre as a whole.

In honor of Wilson’s legacy, the Red Door Project is proud to present the August Wilson Red Door Festival: ten weeks of theatre, music, art, and discussion centered around Wilson’s work and issues of race in the 21st Century. Join us for two months of performances of Wilson’s plays at Artists Repertory Theatre and Portland Playhouse, post-show audience talkbacks, community-based events, as well as appearances and performances from luminaries across the arts.

The festival will kick off on Oct. 12 with the Portland premiere of August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, directed by Red Door Project’s Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Kevin Jones, at Artists Repertory Theatre. On Dec. 6, Portland Playhouse opens Wilson’s King Hedley II. Highlights include appearances by Broadway VIPs:

Stephen McKinley Henderson is a critically acclaimed stage and screen actor and renowned interpreter of August Wilson’s plays. In 2010, he garnered a Tony nomination in the Broadway revival of Wilson’s Fences. Recently seen in the films Tower Heist and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and HBO’s The Newsroom, Henderson will be joining us on Nov. 1st at Portland Center Stage to conduct master classes for local actors, and Nov. 2nd at Portland Playhouse for a public forum and Q&A session.

Constanza Romero’s costume designs for Wilson’s plays and many others have received the Ovation Award and several Tony nominations. She taught costume and scenic design at the University of Washington and UC Santa Cruz. Ms. Romero is August Wilson’s widow. She will premiere a photography exhibit of her costumes on Oct. 27th at Artists Repertory Theatre.

On November 14th, the Red Door Project will host an interactive community discussion at the North Portland Library entitled “Why We Go to the Theater” about what the theater has to offer to modern society and our local community. We’ll hear from youth and adult community members, as well as students, seniors, actors and directors to explore our perceptions about the theatre and determine how performance enriches our lives. We’ll also discuss how plays and movies represent communities of color, and help—or harm—our ideas of race and identity.

This discussion includes an online component: participate live from anywhere by tweeting your thoughts about theatre, performance, and race with the hashtag #reddoorproject. Your tweets will appear on screen during the event. You can also record a video answering one of the following questions:

“Why do you go to the theater?”

“If you’ve never been to the theater, why not?”

Upload your video to YouTube and post it on our Faceboook page at The video with the most views will win two free tickets to a Festival event.

Other goings on around town during the Festival include the premiere of renowned choreographer Camille A. Brown’s “MR. TOL E. RanCE,” presented by White Bird from Dec. 6 – 8, as well as innovative jazz musician Robert Glasper performing live with his band the Robert Glasper Experiment at Someday Lounge on Nov. 3. Both young artists continue Wilson’s legacy of creating transformative, genre-defying work that expresses modern black culture within conventional media, and bridges the gap between tradition and innovation.

The 2012 recipient of The Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award, and a Princess Grace Award Winning Choreographer, Camille A. Brown stands at the forefront of a new movement in dance. Brown has served as Adjunct Professor of Dance at Long Island University and Barnard College, and continues to educate and support arts organizations around the country.  The Village Voice called Brown “a mistress of the melting gesture that’s betrayed by a storm of little staccato ones,” and the Pittsburgh Dance Examiner described her as “simply breathtaking.”

Robert Glasper has worked with musicians across hip-hop, jazz, and R&B, including Q-Tip, Mos Def, Kanye West, Erykah Badu, Meshell Ndegeocello, Lupe Fiasco, Musiq Soulchild and Jay Dilla. His most recent LP, Black Radio, reached #15 on the Billboard Top 200 as well as #1 on Billboard Jazz.  New York Magazine described Glasper’s music as “guided by an elegant evocation of the emotion in the song—then his formidable chops muscle into the picture.” The August Wilson Red Door Project believes that the arts can open the door to transformative dialogue, discovery, and action about issues of race and equity in Portland. What’s behind your door? Join us and find out.

View the entire schedule on our Events Calendar

See the full list of events below:

Oct 3 – 29: Athol Fugard’s Master Harold… and the Boys at Profile Theatre

Oct 12: Festival Kickoff at Artists Repertory Theatre – Red Door Festival Event

Oct 12 – Nov 11: August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, directed by Red Door founder Kevin Jones, at Artists Repertory Theatre – Red Door Festival Event

Oct 14: Post show discussion at Artists Repertory Theatre

Oct 19: Happy Hour at Artists Repertory Theatre

Oct 24: Student Discussion at Artists Repertory Theatre

Oct 27: Constanza Romero costume presentation at Artists Repertory Theatre – Red Door Festival Event

Oct 28: Red Door Project facilitates talkback at Artists Repertory Theatre – Red Door Festival Event

Nov 1: Master classes for actors presented by Stephen Henderson at Portland Center Stage – Red Door Festival Event

Nov 2: A Night with Stephen Henderson at Portland Playhouse – Red Door Festival Event

Nov 3: The Robert Glasper Experiment at Someday Lounge

Nov 4: Education Panel at Artists Repertory Theatre

Nov 4: Book Club at Artists Repertory Theatre

Nov 14: Community Discussion: “Why We Go to the Theatre” at North Portland Library – Red Door Festival Event

Dec 6 – 30: August Wilson’s King Hedley II at Portland Playhouse – Red Door Festival Event

Dec 6 – 8: Camille A. Brown’s “Mr. TOL E. RanCE” presented by White Bird at PSU’s Lincoln Performance Hall

Dec 15: Preshow panel discussion at Portland Playhouse

Dec 16: Post show talkback at Portland Playhouse

Dec 23: Red Door Project facilitates talkback at Portland Playhouse – Red Door Festival Event

Dec 29 – 30:  Staged reading of Christina Anderson’s The Ashes at Portland Playhouse – Red Door Festival Event