Fertile Ground Will Return in April 2024

After a yearlong hiatus, one of the most beloved fixtures of Portland theater is back.

A ray of sunshine for playgoers gloomy about the troubled state of Portland’s theater scene: In 2024, the Fertile Ground Festival of New Works will return.

Portland Area Theater Alliance announced the news today, confirming that the festival would be back April 12-21 after a one-year hiatus, with new festival director Tamara Carroll at the helm.

“I feel positively galvanized by this opportunity, and I can’t think of a more important moment to cultivate and celebrate new work,” Carroll said in a statement. “Some of the most incredible projects have not just been showcased at Fertile Ground—they were commissioned, envisioned, or created FOR Fertile Ground.”

For over a decade, Fertile Ground has been a pillar of Portland’s theater community, offering playwrights (and other artists) a chance to showcase new works, giving the event a zing of authenticity often missing from more polished theater productions.

After going virtual during the pandemic, the festival took 2023 off. Time and money were needed to find a successor to festival director Nicole Lane (the position had previously been largely a volunteer one). Earlier this year, a crowdfunding campaign generated over $6,600, and Carroll ultimately got the job.

“‘Fertile ground’ has always been the exactly perfect metaphor for what this Portland-grown festival is all about: a rich and vital arts community,” Carroll said. “There are infinite seeds of inspiration waiting to be nurtured to their full potential. Leading the as festival director, I have the privilege of creating a container for new work to grow and thrive.”

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