PAE's mission has remained unchanged since our first season 44 years ago:
"To bring financially accessible classical theater to Portland communities in a nontraditional environment."
In the summer of 1970, Portland Actors Ensemble (PAE) began Shakespeare-in-the-Parks program with a two-week production of As You Like It, performed at Laurelhurst Park. Every summer since, we have produced at least one Shakespearean play, free of charge, in various outdoor settings around the city. Each year a production tours at least six different parks over a six-weekend run, reaching many communities. We select parks to cover the Portland Metro area so audience members can attend a show near their homes.
Our Shakespeare-in-the-Parks program touches thousands of people each summer with as many as 600 attending a single performance. For many of our audience members, particularly families with children, this may be their first or only theater experience. As a community service nonprofit organization, we are completely dependent upon donations and grants to continue this tradition. We hope those of you who attend our events will join and support us as we grow and enjoy the works of William Shakespeare.
ProductionÂ History:Â Though known primarily for its productions of Shakespeare's plays, PAE has produced and participated in many other programs, festivals, and cultural events. Turnover of our all-volunteer staff has left some holes in ourÂ history, so much of the information prior to 1978 is pieced together from what we could find or remember.