By Caleb Thurston
Woodburn School District

October 15, 2019 (Woodburn, Ore.) Woodburn High School Theatre is proud to announce its upcoming production of two new short plays in our new project dubbed, Devised Play Festival. The production opens on November 1. 

This fall, teams of Woodburn High School student performers and designers are working alongside professional theatre artists from Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble (PETE) to create, refine, rehearse and perform a pair of new short plays. Both of these stories use inventive staging to explore different ways of viewing events in our lives. In our common search for a place to belong, how do we know what is real? 

PETE has been making performance since 2011. The company has created four original devised works (Song of the Dodo, Drowned Horse Tavern, All Well and Deception Unit), four new plays ([or, the whale] by Juli Crockett and Our Ruined House, How to Learn and Procedures for Saying No by Robert Quillen Camp) and four revivals (R3, a new adaptation of Richard III, Chekhov’s The Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya, and Maria Irene Fornes’ Enter the Night). PETE’s work has been produced at Northwest New Works at On the Boards, Summerfest at CoHo Theatre, Risk/Reward, Caldera, and PCS’s JAW Festival. This partnership is made possible by a series of grants from Ellyn Bye, John Rothermitch & Shelley Turley, and The Blair Family Philanthropy Fund. The project is directed by Clifton Holznagel and Rebecca Miles. 

According to PETE co-artistic director Cristi Miles, “PETE is a company of artists who make new plays in a collaborative way. We train together and teach our work. We are committed to creative rigor, to the enrichment of our local arts ecology, and to connect with diverse audiences. We challenge established notions of theatrical form and content with innovative practice, presentation, and organization. We strive to achieve a radical kind of presence shared with audiences in the performance event”

Woodburn High School Theatre director, Caleb Thurston, adds, “It is really an honor to partner with PETE. Our students are being exposed to a whole new way of making theatre that is deeply personal. This is such a fantastic opportunity for students and myself to learn from artists of this caliber.”

The Devised Play Festival is the first of three shows that comprise the 2019-2020 theatre season at Woodburn High School. The season is themed “change the ending” and all three titles explore characters who courageously take charge of their own futures.

The Devised Play Festival runs for two weekends, Friday-Saturday, November 1-2 and 8-9, at 7:00 pm. All performances take place at the Woodburn High School Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for general admission and can be purchased from the box office starting thirty minutes before each performance. The two plays will perform back-to-back with a brief intermission.

For more information or for group seating reservations, please contact Caleb Thurston (cthurston@woodburnsd.org; 503-980-6275.)