PORTLAND, ORE.: The Fertile Ground Festival of New Works, a program of the Portland Area Theatre Alliance (PATA) has announced the 38 projects that will be part of its 2022 festival, scheduled to run Jan. 27-Feb. 6. This year’s festival will include online programming from all 38 projects, with some projects also hosting in-person events in tandem with the online festivities. A full list of projects is available on the festival website.
“Fertile Ground 2022 is yet another myriad of ripe voices who have created new works spanning almost every art form—from theatre, musical theatre, puppetry, improv, circus and aerial arts, stop-motion animation, dance, social action, and cultural commentary,” said Nicole Lane, Fertile Ground Festival director, in a statement. “Through their work, steeped in the voices and richly lived experiences of these artists, we can see our community just a little more clearly through lenses of realism, fantasy, and aspiration. From saving the planet, to depictions of God and Satan, death, immigration, grief, and ‘group think’ experiences, I see many thematic threads centered around existential exploration. So many investigations of the space in which we live in today’s world, exploring what autonomy really is, and what does it mean to exist—and in whose culture? This festival’s acts of creation are from artists who are asking themselves, and audiences, a lot of deep questions—certainly commentary on the past two years.”
Selected by Fertile Ground’s GROW Panel, five of this year’s projects received $500 GROW Awards. Initially created for the 2021 festival, the GROW Awards are designed to increase access and decrease the financial barriers, allowing greater participation from new voices. This year’s GROW Award winners are Cosmogonos, produced by Yantra Productions; Heart of Stone, produced by Fool House Art Collective; Knowledge of Good and Evil, produced by Project C.O.C.O.A.; PLEDGE The Musical, produced by D&M Associates; and The Enemy of the People, produced by +Street Scenes.
“It is truly exciting to see how the Portland Area Theatre Alliance and Fertile Ground have come together to provide a platform for new and diverse work,” said Samson Syharath, chairperson of the GROW panel, in a statement. “Having so many different voices in the room provides an abundance of knowledge and perspective. The GROW Panel is incredibly valuable in working to advance projects that are inclusive, and elevate voices that are typically underrepresented. I believe that this year’s GROW Award selections will help uplift projects that align with our mission to address equity and access barriers in the festival that exist for underrepresented artists.”
Additionally, 10 projects received the new GROW Light designation, a category created and selected by the GROW panel to “shine a light” on projects aligned with their mission “to uplift and center artists and content that express significant representation of underrepresented communities, and that would do so in an artistically notable manner.” The GROW Light list includes GROW Award recipients, due to a separate adjudication and scoring process, with scores collected through a secret ballot system.
Alongside all five GROW Award winners, the GROW Light selections include Misadventures of Missy Black, produced by Do It For Mead; Alma’s Wish, produced by Leaven Dream Puppets; Groovin’ Greenhouse, produced by Polaris Dance Theatre; SOUL’D, produced by Vanport Mosaic; and Touch and Go, produced by Echo Theater Company.
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