Artists Repertory Theater (also known as Artists Rep or ART) is the oldest operating theater company in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 1982, Artists Rep is in its 39th year of intimate and provocative theatrical creation. As is the case with most organizations and businesses, Artists Rep has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. They had to shut down its regularly scheduled performances and turn to alternative programming, including audio dramas, videos, and film projects. Through interviews and clips, this episode of “Literary Arts: The Archive Project” highlights three of these projects: “Magellanica”, “Forget Me Not America” and “See Me”. These projects highlight Artists Rep’s innovative creativity, resilience and commitment to supporting artists first.
Kisha jarrett is the Managing Director of the Artists Repertory Theater in Portland, Oregon. She is a change creator with marketing and development experience throughout her ten year career in arts management who has helped raise over $ 50 million for various organizations and has a cumulative income of over $ 5 million. Originally from Virginia, she has lived across the country but now lives in Portland. Kisha is also a writer, director, producer, actor, musician and storyteller. Currently, she is working on her second feature script, the pre-production of a feature documentary (“Black Girl in the Woods,” documenting a hike on the Pacific Northwest Trail) and an educational piece for the Oregon Bar Association. (of Oregon’s Four Black Suffragettes Worth Recounting), post-production of the first DNA-conceived short: Oxygen (“See Me”), and writing of her first novel. Kisha is proud to be the co-founder of the DNA: Oxygen program at ART.
Shawn lee Recently co-directed the short film “Better Maybe” in Mercury Company I. Other directing credits include “Small Mouth Sounds” and “American Hero” by Bess Wohl. In 2017, he directed Christopher Chen’s “Caught”, a multimedia theater / art installation and collaboration with Portland visual artist Horatio Law. He directed and co-produced EM Lewis’ international tour of “The Gun Show,” featuring artist-representative resident artist Vin Shambry, which premiered in the 21st season of CoHo Productions. After a sold-out release, “The Gun Show” was reassembled at Artists Rep before heading to the Logan Festival of Solo Performance at 1st Stage in Virginia, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017 in Scotland, Portland Public Schools and Willamette University. Shawn is the Production Manager at Artists Rep and is now in his sixth season. In 2001, he co-founded the Furious Theater Company in Los Angeles where he served as co-artistic director before moving to Portland in 2014.
EM Lewis is an award-winning opera playwright, teacher and librettist. His work has been produced worldwide and published by Samuel French. Lewis received the Steinberg Award for “How the Light Gets In” and “Song of Extinction,” and the Primus Award for “Heads” from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for his writing Outstanding World Premiere of a Play, Princeton University Hodder Fellowship, New Jersey State Arts Commission Drama Fellowship, Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama 2016 and ‘an Edgerton Award for his epic Antarctic play “Magellanica”.
Dawn Jones Redstone is an award-winning queer and latinx writer / director whose films have been screened around the world. Her work often features women of color and explores themes of resistance, feminism, and internal machinations that help us transform into the people we want to become. She was named a Woman of Sight by the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce and has received grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Northwest Film Center, and the MRG Foundation, among others. In 2017, she was selected to follow director Debra Granik on the set of “Leave No Trace” as part of the 5to50 program in Oregon. She believes in using her writing / hiring decisions to uplift people and help create a film community that reflects and brings the necessary perspective to the world we live in. She is preparing to make her first feature film.
Dámaso Rodríguez is in his eighth season as artistic director of the Artists Repertory Theater, Portland’s longest-running professional theater company, which became a member of the League of Resident Theaters (LORT) under his direction. The plays developed during his tenure have been produced in New York, Chicago, London and across the United States, projects developed by Acclaim for Artists Rep include the Dramatists Guild Foundation Award, Edgerton New Play Award, NEA Funding, American Theater Magazine’s most produced list, and coverage in The New Yorker and The New York Times.
Currently living in Portland, OR, Josie sead is a resident artist of the Artists Repertory Theater. She is an international theater designer, who evolves in several circles. As a proud member of the LineStorm Play Writes Collective, she is the author of “Petite Dames”, which was nominated for the Kilroy List in 2015 and was recently the subject of a workshop at the Ray Warren Symposium of Lewis and Clark on the race and the revolutionary struggle. Other works include, but are not limited to: “Path to Glory”, “The Great God of the Dark Storm Cloud”, “The Wisdom of Jordan”, “Late”, “Stand by Me” and “This is message number 13.” Her short play, “A Wing and a Prayer,” was recently presented as part of the national Play At Home project. As an actor and musical theater performer, she has been seen in on-stage shows in the Portland area such as: “An Octoroon” with Artists Repertory Theater, “Men on Boats” with Third Rail and “Into the Woods ”with Broadway Rose. She is also an international arts ambassador who has performed in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt. Josie has also directed productions in Portland to include two world premieres: “Hazardous Beauty” with PassinArt and “A Dark Sky Full of Stars” with Vertigo. Her latest film, Forget Me Not, America, in association with the ART Mercury company has taken Josie to creative new places and she is excited to imagine the sequel!
Andrea Vernae is originally from Miami, Florida. She is also a former Portland Playhouse apprentice. She was last seen in “Building the Wall” with Triangle Productions, “Pen / Man / Ship” with Portland Playhouse, “The Every 28 Hours Plays” with Confrontation Theater, “Antigone Project” with Profile Theater and in Portland Playhouse in “Peter and the Starcatcher.” When not on stage, Andrea is proud to be the General Manager of the Confrontation Theater.