Fertile Ground Festival

Fertile Ground is an 11-day arts festival featuring new works by local artists including world premiere projects, staged readings, developing works and a myriad of other arts events from the Portland creative community.

and check out HOW IT WORKS below to make sure you have all your information ready to go!

LATE REGISTRATION CLOSES MONDAY, JANUARY 22nd

The next Fertile Ground Festival is happening April 12-21, 2024.

What is the Fertile Ground Festival?

 Fertile Ground is an 11-day, city-wide festival highlighting new work from Portland’s creative community in myriad art forms and offering dozens of Portland-generated “acts of creation” for audiences to experience each year. Where other new works festivals are typically curated by one entity, this festival is collaboratively shaped by community participation, uplifting a variety of aesthetic voices.

Projects can range from fully staged world premieres, to theatrical workshops and play readings, to ensemble, multidisciplinary and collaboration-driven work, to a variety of dance, comedy, film events and more.

Unlike a typical fringe festival, Fertile Ground features the new work of our LOCAL artists, performers, and resident theatre companies, ensuring that the artistic and financial benefits of the festival stay in Portland. 

After a year of strategic hiatus, PATA is presenting the first in-person Fertile Ground Festival of New Works since 2020.

The next festival will take place April 12-21, 2024!

More

Founded by Trisha Mead with the first festival in 2009, and led by Nicole Lane from 2010-2022 the Fertile Ground Festival features a full range of artistic experiences, giving audiences a greater depth and breadth of work from which to choose in a concentrated time frame. From Portland’s oldest and largest producing institutions to its newest, smallest companies to artist-produced projects, the Fertile Ground Festival offers a platform for a range of producers. This festival is nationally distinctive in that it provides a unique model for creating and sharing new work that is of substantive value locally, regionally, and to the national arts scene.

Fertile Ground was launched by the Portland Area Theatre Alliance (the service organization for Portland theatre artists and organizations) in 2009 to provide a platform for Portland theatre companies to showcase their commitment to new work; and vectoring opportunity to invite regional and national artists, artistic leaders and arts aficionados to discover for the rich artistic diversity of Portland for themselves. Over the past decade, the festival has grown its scope of offerings to encompass a breadth of artistic endeavors including dance, multidisciplinary projects, comedy, visual arts, literature, animation, film, and holds the door open to any art form. Fertile Ground aspires to provide a forum where artists, art lovers near and far can come to appreciate that Portland truly is fertile ground for artistic creativity, innovation, and daring acts of performance.

Find the Fertile Ground Festival Online!

Subscribe to the Fertile Ground email list to get updates on Festival registration and calendar of events.

Download the Logo and Media Kit here

Fertile Ground, A City-Wide Festival of New Works

The Fertile Ground Mission Statement

The Fertile Ground Festival of New Works, a program of the Portland Area Theatre Alliance (PATA), serves our community’s artists and audiences by offering a new works festival that features a myriad of artistic endeavors by local artists. The festival provides art-makers and producers a marketing umbrella and professional development opportunities. The annual festival offers a platform that fosters relationships between artists, producers and arts patrons, and deepens an appreciation for the abundant “acts of creation” in our community.

 

Fertile Ground is committed to the continued examination and expansion of efforts toward equity, inclusion, diversity and accessibility at every level. The festival works toward creating an inclusive, welcoming festival platform shared by intersectional identities and underrepresented voices across race, ethnicity, color, age, gender identity and sexual orientation (LGBTQ2IA+), and physical or intellectual ability.

 

Fertile Ground respectfully acknowledges that the work made for the festival in the Portland metropolitan area was created on the unceded ancestral lands and traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and many other Tribes who made their homes along the Columbia (Wimahl) and Willamette (Whilamut) rivers. We honor the many diverse Indigenous peoples who reside in this region — past, present, future. With grateful intentions, we humbly recognize the generations of peoples who have stewarded these lands, indeed these fertile grounds, for eons and still do.

Fertile Ground Press

DramaWatch: Re-seeding Fertile Ground
2/10/2023
Marty Hughley for Oregon Arts Watch

Fertile Ground press release
2/6/2023
Fertile Ground Raises Funds for New Festival Director

Portland Tribune
2/6/2023
Fertile Ground theater festival seeks paid director

Broadway World
5/23/22
Fertile Ground Announces Strategic Hiatus For 2023 Festival

Oregon ArtsWatch
5/22/22
Fertile Ground Festival takes a break

Willamette Week
5/22/22
The Fertile Ground Festival of New Works Is Not Happening in 2023

Portland Monthly
2/7/22
Heart of Stone Mines Uyghur History for Universal Truths

Oregon Public Broadcasting/Think Out Loud
2/3/22
Russian choreographer’s story told in new play, ‘Heart of Stone’

ArtsWatch
2/2/22
DramaWatch: Desire and Fertile Ground

Broadway World
1/28/22
Fertile Ground 2022 Kicks Off with Virtual and Live Performances – 5 Picks for This Year’s Festival

The Beacon
1/28/22
UP Alumni Stage Pirate Play for Online Theater Festival

The Southeast Examiner
1/28/22
Fertile Ground Fest Streams On

Portland State Vanguard
1/27/22
Witness a fusion of theater and dance at Heart of Stone

Oregon ArtsWatch
1/27/22
DramaWatch: Digging deep into Fertile Ground, and other adventures onstage

Portland Monthly
1/27/22
5 Things to Check Out at the 2022 Fertile Ground Festival

Oregon ArtsWatch
1/26/22
Fertile Ground: Get your festival on

Lake Oswego Review
1/26/22
Lakewood productions online for 2022 Fertile Ground Festival

Willamette Week
1/25/22
Fertile Ground, the Annual Festival of New Productions, Brings Love, Sex and Puppets to a Screen Near You

Judy Nedry Reviews
1/24/22
FERTILE GROUND: MOSTLY VIRTUAL AND BETTER THAN EVER!

Portland Tribune
1/24/22
Fertile Ground’s resilient artists

Oregon ArtsWatch
1/20/22
DanceWatch: Moving into Fertile Ground

Here is Oregon
1/10/22
Leaven Dream Puppets premieres latest film, Alma’s Wish, at the 2022 Fertile Ground Festival

Oregon Live
1/18/22
How to make the most of Portland’s formidable Fertile Ground Festival in 2022

Portland Tribune
1/17/22
Bits & Pieces: Rose Festival returns as ‘Rose City Reunion’

Oregon ArtsWatch
1/13/22
We now pause for a word from our pandemic.

Oregon Live
1/12/21
Portland stages offer globetrotting adventures this winter

Here is Oregon
12/17/21
Fertile Ground Festival of New Works announces 2022 lineup

Broadway World
1/6/22
Portland Eurythmy Performs At Fertile Ground Festival

Broadway World
1/4/22
Tim Lafolette, Sings of Love And Community In Inspiring Cabaret at Fertile Ground Festival

Here is Oregon
12/17/21
Fertile Ground Festival of New Works announces 2022 lineup

Willamette Week
12/5/21
Fertile Ground Announces Its Hybrid Online and In-Person 2022 Lineup

American Theatre
11/8/21
Fertile Ground Announces 2022 GROW Awards

Broadway World
10/31/21
Fertile Ground Announces GROW Award Winners Ahead of New Works Festival

Willamette Week
9/21/21
The Fertile Ground Festival, One of Portland’s Largest Presentations of New Works, Will Remain Virtual in 2022

Broadway World
9/10/21
Fertile Ground Festival 2022 Plans Announced

Oregon ArtsWatch
2/11/21
Fertile Ground 2021: The Aftermath

Portland Monthly
2/9/21
5 Things to Stream at the 2021 Fertile Ground Festival

Writer’s Guild Initiative
2/9/21
Interview with Participant, WGI Workshop Participant Darlene Zimbardi

Oregon ArtsWatch
2/7/21
Belling Shakespeare’s cat

Oregon ArtsWatch
2/6/21
Days of Fezziwig past

Oregon ArtsWatch
2/5/21
Looking for light, packing a punch

Oregon ArtsWatch
2/5/21
A room with a redemptive view

Oregon ArtsWatch
2/4/21
Tough questions, tough answers

Oregon ArtsWatch
2/4/21
A ‘Hot Mess’ of a zombie jamboree

Oregon ArtsWatch
2/4/21
Strike up the virtual festival band

KBOO
Tara’s Way of Trying
Hosted by: Thom Becker

Oregon ArtsWatch
1/31/21
DanceWatch: Jan-bruary is the resilient month

Oregon ArtsWatch
1/28/21
Interactive cookies and scares

Oregon ArtsWatch
1/30/21
Martha Bakes in Black & White

The Columbian
1/28/21
Clark County thespians featured in Fertile Ground festival

KOIN
1/28/21
6 Things: Fertile ground, live music, local shopping, more

Oregon Live
1/21/21
5 things to do this week: Fertile Ground, ‘Stone Soup’ and Portland jazz composers

Willamette Week
1/26/21
Fertile Ground May Be Virtual This Year, but It’s Still Vibrant

Portland Tribune
1/26/21
Fertile Ground: Theater online, on brand and on point

Oregon ArtsWatch
1/25/21
Fertile Ground 2021: Digital seedlings sprout

Judy Nedry Reviews
1/22/21
FERTILE GROUND (RE-IMAGINED) 2021

Black PR Wire
1/21/21
“Be Careful What You Ask For” by Lisa Collins debuts during the Fertile Ground Virtual New Work Play Festival

Broadway World
1/21/21
BWW Previews: 10 Things to See at Fertile Ground 2021

The Southeast Examiner
1/20/21

Stage & Studio
1/19/21
Dmae Roberts talks with S. Renee Mitchell

Broadway World
1/13/21
Lakewood Theatre Company Presents Online Productions of ACTING COUNSEL by C.S. Whitcomb

EIN Presswire
1/13/21
Queer Quarantine: “Lilies” Film Takes Home Awards at Short Film Festivals

Broadway World
1/12/21
BWW Interview: Fertile Ground Festival Managing Director Dré Slaman

Stage & Studio
1/12/21
Damaris Webb on Martha Bakes

Stage & Studio
1/10/21
Dmae Roberts talks with Damaris Webb

Oregon Live
1/10/21
Portland winter theater, film guide: Organizers adapt to bring arts into homes

Jewish Review
1/6/21
Fertile Ground Fest offers Window into Elder World

America Theatre Magazine
12/2/20
Portland’s 2020 Fertile Ground Fest to Go Online

American Theatre Magazine
9/30/20
Fertile Ground Announces 2021 Festival Lineup

Broadway World
9/29/29
Fertile Ground 2021 Projects Announced; 31 Projects Selected by Community Panel

Broadway World
9/12/20
BWW Interview: Fertile Ground Festival Managing Director Dré Slaman

America Theatre Magazine
9/2/20
Fertile Ground Announces 2021 Grow Award Winners

Broadway World
9/1/20
Fertile Ground Announces GROW AWARD Winners For 2021 Festival

Portland Tribune
9/1/21
Bits & Pieces

Willamette Week
8/12/20
Fertile Ground Festival Will Move Entirely Online in 2021 Due to the Coronavirus

Oregon ArtsWatch
8/6/20
A Fertile Ground of storytelling for our time

Broadway World
8/1/20
Fertile Ground Announces 2021 Virtual Festival Plans

HOW it works

For producers

Registration for the 2024 Fertile Ground Festival will open at 12pm on November 15th, 2023 and stay open through January 14th, 2024.

The Festival will take place April 12-21, 2024.

For questions or support around registration, please email FGregistration@portlandtheatre.com. 

 

How does registration work?

Producers CHOOSE which tier they’d like to register for:

TIER 1 – $225

  • Single ticket price is $15 or under
  • Tickets are FREE to Festival Passholders
  • Ticket sales handled either through Wannago? OR your preferred ticketing system* ($25 discount on registration if you use Wannago?)
  • Producers can limit number of passholder tickets to 10% of the house, or 6 seats, whichever is greater.
  • Your listing on the website, festival guide, and social media
  • PATA members receive $50 off registration

TIER 2 – $325

  • Single ticket price is above $15
  • FG Passholders receive 50% off tickets
  • Producers can limit the number of pass-holder seats to 20% of the house, or 12 seats, whichever is greater.
  • Ticket sales handled either through Wannago? OR your preferred ticketing system* ($25 discount on registration if you use Wannago?)
  • Your listing on the website, festival guide, and social media
  • PATA members receive $50 off registration

All producers register through Wannago? and pay their registration fee at the time of registration.

*Producers handling ticket sales through their preferred ticketing system instead of Wannago? please see our Producer Agreement

Registration opens November 15, 2023 and closes January 14th, 2024 at midnight. Late registration is available January 15-21, 2024 with an additional fee of $50 (Note: late registrants may not have their listing included in the printed Festival Guide, but will be in the digital guide and website).

What information do I need to have in order to register?

When you register your project(s) on Wannago?, please be prepared to supply the following information:

  • Name of Producer
  • Name(s) of Project(s)
  • Brief (300-word) project description(s), including name(s) of creator(s)/collaborators
  • Number of performances, including dates and times
  • Venue information: name, full address,
  • Venue seating capacity
  • Single ticket price
  • PATA Fertile Ground Registration Discount code (only available to current PATA members – email info@portlandtheatre.com to get the member discount code)
  • Please make sure all of your listing is proofed by an outside source.

You will also be asked for contact and payment information at the time of registration.

How does the Fertile Ground Festival Pass work, and what does that mean for me as a producer?

Festival Passes are $75 (or $60 on presale) and entitles the pass holder to FREE tickets for shows where tickets cost $15 or less, and 1/2 price tickets to any shows where tickets cost more than $15. 

If you are using Wannago? as your ticketing system…….

What Wannago? does:

  • Both Festival Passholders and single ticket buyers will purchase tickets through the Wannago? platform.
  • Each Festival Passholder will be given a code they can use to secure their free or half-price tickets on Wannago?.
  • Wannago? adds  a fee of 3.9% + $1 per ticket purchase automatically as part of every transaction.
  • Wannago? will automatically limit the number of Passholder tickets that can be reserved for each performance.
  • Wannago? will ensure that only Passholders are able to purchase tickets from March 1  – March 17. The producer does not need to do anything. 
  • Add a seat map to your Wannago? tickets page to allow patrons to select their own seats.

What the Producer does:

  • Provide banking information to Wannago? when you register. Once tickets go on sale, you’ll receive a direct deposit of your ticket sales into your account at the end of each day – no waiting for a pay-out
  • Distribute and collect demographic data forms (provided by the Festival) for every Festival performance. Ensure these forms are available for collection by Festival staff.
  • Check Festival Passes at the door when Passholders check in
  • Provide complete and accurate box office data within 2 weeks of the end of the Festival

If you’re *not* using Wannago?, you agree to:

  • Add the designated promo code that Festival Passholders will use to reserve/purchase tickets (All producers not using Wannago? will be asked to use the same promo code so that Passholders don’t need a different code for every single show)
  • Figure out your own method of limiting the number of Passholder tickets available (if you choose to cap the number of Passholder tickets)
  • EITHER ensure that Passholders are able to pre-reserve/purchase tickets from March 1 – March 17 OR hold seats for Passholders until the day of the performance.
  • Check Festival Passes at the door when Passholders check in.
  • Distribute and collect demographic data forms (provided by the Festival) for every Festival performance. Ensure these forms are available for collection by Festival staff.
  • Provide complete and accurate box office data within 2 weeks of the end of the Festival

Producers are allowed to *limit* the number of tickets available to Festival Passholders. Tier 1 producers can limit the number of passholder tickets to 10% of the house or 6 seats, whichever is greater. Tier 2 producers can limit the number of passholder tickets to 20% of the house, or 12 seats, whichever is greater. 

Note: You do not HAVE to limit the number of seats available to Passholders! 

Passholders are able to pre-reserve tickets for 2 weeks before they go on sale to single ticket-buyers (March 1-March 17th) *

*Shows that are part of a company’s larger season are exempt from this, but are required to designate a certain number of seats for Passholders UNTIL single tickets go on sale for the rest of the general Festival audience.

Where do I register?

Click here to register for Fertile Ground 2024

Registration will be open November 15th, 2023 at 12pm through midnight on January 14th, 2024.

Late registration will be open from January 15-21, 2024 with an additional fee of $50 (Note: late registrants may not have their listing included in the printed Festival Guide, but will be in the digital guide and website.)

FAQs

1. Festival Overview

Fertile Ground Festival of New Works is an 11-day arts festival in Portland, Oregon. This city-wide festival is focused on new work from Portland’s creative community in a myriad of art forms. The festival offers dozens of Portland-generated “acts of creation” each year. Projects range from fully staged world premieres, theatrical workshops and play readings, to ensemble, multidisciplinary and collaboration-driven work, to a variety of dance, comedy, film events and more. Fertile Ground spans the spectrum of artistic endeavors and further seeds the next generation of creation through artist conversations, workshops, lunchtime readings and more.

2. What are the Participation Qualifications?

The festival offering should be a new work, or a significant reimagining, from a local artist using local actors/creative team on the project. Each participant is responsible for producing their own event. Fertile Ground acts as an umbrella for publicity, marketing and consulting support.

3. Is the Festival Curated?

Fertile Ground is an uncurated festival. Being uncurated is a feature that is unique to our festival. We want to provide a platform for all area artists to share their new work with new audiences.

4. What are the GROW Awards?

The Grow Awards help to address the equity and access barriers to participation in the festival that exists for underrepresented artists. Applications for the GROW Awards will open in January. Stay tuned for more information.

5. How does the Participant / Fertile Ground Partnership work?

Festival participants independently produce their own projects. Fertile Ground provides marketing for the Festival and acts as a resource for producers. Fertile Ground is not legally liable in any way for your event. Here are some ways Fertile Ground supports you as a producer:

Festival Website

  • Your project is listed on the Festival website
  • You supply the listing, description, photo/image, donation link and link to project website.

Public Relations & Marketing

  • Media Relations – Your project is included in festival press materials distributed to local, regional, national media
  • Social Media – Your project receives support via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  • Marketing Outreach – As opportunities arise, your project is included in special events, community partnerships, etc.

Workshops and Roundtable resource events

Fertile Ground offers informational gatherings, workshops and networking opportunities in the months leading up to Fertile Ground. Past events have included a three hour PR & Marketing Bootcamp, a Meet the Press night and a hands-on Box Office Tickets/Passes workshop.

General Support

Fertile Ground staff are available to support you, answer your questions and provide a helping hand.

 

6. What is Expected of me as a Participant?

Festival Promotion Expectations

  • Promote the Festival Pass! Festival Pass sales represent Fertile Ground’s largest source of earned income. Share information about Festival Passes wherever you promote your event.
  • Include the Fertile Ground Festival logo on your marketing materials, digital ads and printed material.
  • Include a descriptive sentence and web url for Fertile Ground in all media releases related to your production. Individual producer media releases are highly encouraged.
  • Include a logo or a description of the Festival on your website linking to the Fertile Ground webpage.
  • Promote your show in conjunction with Fertile Ground to your mail or e-mail list, social media, etc.

Communications Expectations

  • Meet all Festival and submission deadlines.
  • Provide complete, accurate information in the format requested (the first time).
  • Accurately capture and report attendance and demographic data for all Festival performances.

7. Can I hire SAG-AFTRA/AEA actors in my Fertile Ground piece?

Producers who are interested in hiring SAG-AFTRA/AEA members need to sign SAG-AFTRA/AEA members to an appropriate SAG-AFTRA/AEA contract. They should contact regional representatives.

Team Members

The Portland Area Theatre Alliance is a collection of people. From membership to leadership – it takes individual, personal investment to foster, cultivate and grow a dynamic theatre community. We would love to invite you to join our small team of volunteers to ensure that this festival remains one of Portland’s bragging rights.

Fertile Ground Committee: 

Harrison Butler (Committee Chair), Jane Comer, Samson Syharath, Jessica Wallenfels, Sara Jean Accuardi, Nicole Lane (former FG Artistic Director), Dre Slaman (former FG Managing Director)

Fertile Ground Staff:

Tamara Carroll | Festival Director | fertileground@portlandtheatre.com
Cassie Greer| Managing Director | FGregistration@portlandtheatre.com
Eboni Lovell | Marketing Director | marketing@portlandtheatre.com
Sarah DeGrave | PATA Office Manager | info@portlandtheatre.com