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Portland’s 2020 Fertile Ground Fest to Go Online

The 11-day virtual festival of new works will feature 40 projects streaming for free.

PORTLAND, ORE.: The Portland Area Theatre Alliance has announced the lineup for its 2020 Fertile Ground Festival of New Works. The 12th annual festival, which will be offered online for free, will feature 40 projects, streaming on Facebook and YouTube Jan. 28-Feb. 7, 2021.

“At this time, in our local and national landscape, our community needs artists’ voices more than ever,” said Dre Slaman, Fertile Ground managing director, in a statement. “This reimagined virtual Fertile Ground is about innovation, inclusion, and, most of all, the resilience of our local artistic community.”

The Grow Panel, a committee of artists and arts administrators, selected 31 of the projects that will be included in the festival programming. The panel was instituted in order to include a wider range of community artists to make the decision-making process more equitable. Committee members included Sara Jean Accaurdi, Roy Arauz, Michael Cavazos, Jane Comer, James Dixon, Tracy Cameron Francis, Robert Guitron, Heath Hyun Houghton, Anthony Hudson, Nicole Lane, Bianca McCarthy, Matthew Miller, Jeanette Mmunga, Val Yvette Peterson, Tess Raunig, Dre Slaman, Logan Starnes, Samson Syharath, and Mark Woodlief.

The festival will kick off with Matthew Miller’s One Pig, Two Pig, Three Pig, Blue Pig on Jan. 28 at 12 p.m. PST. The 11-day programming will also include works by young playwrights, short plays, cooking-inspired pieces, and more. The full lineup of selected works can be found here.

Also part of the festival will be recorded “acts of creation,” videos submitted by producing organizations and artist-producers. Recorded premieres of the 40 projects, which were randomly assigned time slots, will be live-dropped at scheduled intervals throughout the 11-day festival. The projects will be accessible for on-demand viewing beginning Feb. 15, 2021. While the festival is free this year, viewers are encouraged to make donations to Fertile Ground between now and the start of the festival in lieu of the usual $50 festival pass.

“This year’s festival will host an astounding array of artists whose voices, story subjects, and project designs run the gamut,” said Nicole Lane, Fertile Ground festival director, in a statement. “I believe we took a pivotal opportunity to meaningfully invite new artistic voices into the festival while also challenging all artists to innovate their work for this new normal world of streamed performance. At-home audiences certainly see a festival overflowing with diverse ‘acts of creation’ from a host of local artists who are emphatically representational of our community.”

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