Due to the work of the Red Door Project, Portland has joined a prestigious circle of seven other theater cities to participate in this acclaimed national program.
The August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) was launched in Atlanta in 2007 by True Colors Theatre Company. Modeled on successful Shakespeare monologue competitions for young people, AWMC grew in five years to seven cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, New York, and Seattle, and Pittsburgh—Wilson’s home. Portland’s program launched in the spring and summer of 2013.
Supported by teachers and community leaders, and guided by professional actor and director mentors, students study monologues from Wilson’s plays and perform them at publicly viewed Portland auditions. The top three Portland finalists will compete in national finals at the August Wilson Theatre in New York City. They will also receive cash prizes, and the first place Portland winner will receive a full scholarship to Portland Actors Conservatory, valued at $21,000.
But the AWMC is much more than a competition. As students explore Wilson’s characters and themes in a safe, supportive atmosphere, they will gain confidence and skills that will serve them in all their future endeavors. Beginning in its second year, AWMC will partner with 9th grade English instructors at 2–4 selected schools for an in-school program component.
Equity & Diversity Consulting/Training: Portland Equity in the Arts Consortium
In 2013, encouraged and funded by the Miller Foundation, we recruited six performing arts organizations that are Miller Foundation grantees to participate in a learning community called Portland Equity in the Arts Consortium (PEAC). We met with Portland Playhouse, Profile Theatre, Third Rail Repertory Theatre, Artists Repertory Theatre, Hand2Mouth, and Playwrite, Inc from June through November, once per month together and in individual coaching sessions between gatherings.
Participants were actively engaged in both collaborative problem solving and individual work to diversify staff, board and audiences. The curriculum and learnings from PEAC will not only enable us to expand PEAC, but also to offer this kind of training to other organizations.
The Red Door continues to facilitate post-show talkbacks for local theatres. Our talkbacks are specifically designed to create a safe atmosphere for the difficult conversations that often follow plays with complex themes, especially on the intersections of internalized oppressions such as race, class, sex and gender.