Fertile Ground 2021 Projects Announced; 31 Projects Selected by Community Panel

Festival productions will stream on Facebook and YouTube channels from Thursday, January 28 through Sunday, February 7, 2021.

By: Sep. 29, 2020
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Fertile Ground 2021 Projects Announced; 31 Projects Selected by Community Panel

Fertile Ground Festival of New Works, a program of the Portland Area Theatre Alliance has announced the new works lineup selected for the 2021 festival.

Fertile Ground Festival 2021 marks the first time in the festival's 11-year history that participant "acts of creation" are curated. The GROW PANEL, a diverse community panel of artists and arts administrators, has selected 31 projects for this year's festival. Additionally new this year, the 12th annual festival will be free and distributed virtually.

Festival productions will stream on Facebook and YouTube channels from Thursday, January 28 through Sunday, February 7, 2021 - festival schedule and project descriptions to be announced.

"Three hour Zoom calls are rarely categorized as inspiring, but that was certainly the case after the GROW PANEL had its final festival curation session," said Bianca McCarthy, GROW PANEL Co-Facilitator and Executive Director of Echo Theater. "It is heartening for me to see how willing the leadership at Fertile Ground has been to listen and create space for new perspectives, and that showed in the assembly of our intersectional panel. The depth and breadth of professional and lived experiences helped ensure that a variety of voices, including up-and-coming artists, were given a platform for expression at this year's Fertile Ground - we are thrilled with how the festival lineup came together."


A Window Into Elderworld | Elder World Productions

Abraham Lincoln (Self Help Guru) | CoHo Clown Cohort

Allies & Accomplices | Echo Theater Company

Be Careful What you Ask For | Family of Color Productions*

Cat Napper | Portland Civic Theatre Guild

CHOSEN | Asteroid B612

I'll Tell You How To Love Me | Brave Ass Scaredy Cat

Lilies | Future Prairie*

Livin' in the Light | Future Prairie

MADONNA OF THE CAT (Working Title) | Sue Mach Productions

Martha Bakes | Vanport Mosaic

no one can hear me scream underwater | echeri productions

Oh Myh Dating Hell | Aala Is Possible*

Prismagic Radio Hour | Prismagic

Prolific | Le Why Not Productions

RE: Lilith Lopez | The Reformers

Red/Act | This Cherokee Rose*

Resiliency in Rhythm | I Am M.O.R.E. (Making Ourselves Resilient Everyday)

Sadie and Myrtle | V.A.D.M. Realm*

Sex Therapist Confesses | Naked at My Age*

Shooflies and Psilocybin | Theatre Vertigo*

Spirit in the Dark | PDX Soul Collective & Portland Cello Project

STOP! (Motion) | The Broken Planetarium

Storytelling at Willamette Center Women's Center + Rogue Pack Youth | Rogue Pack

Tadaima | Eat Cake Gallery*

The FUN-Raiser (to stop the end of the world) | Kryptic Films

The November Project | Many Hats Collaboration

the space/silence/sao in-between | Do It for Mead*

Troy, USA | Bag&Baggage Productions

Ways of Trying | World's Edge Theatre

Hot Mess - a Zombie Musical | SPECTRE Productions

*Funded by a Regional Arts & Culture Council Arts Equity & Access grant, intended to formalize and expand the festival's initiatives to address equity and access barriers to participation that exist for underrepresented (BIPOC, LGBTQ2IA+, Disabled) artists. The grant provided Fertile Ground with funds to distribute to artists/producers through the GROW AWARD program. Initially, five $500 awards were to be distributed. An additional two anonymous donors funded four additional awards. The Fertile Ground GROW PANEL selected the GROW AWARD-winning projects.

Submissions for Fertile Ground 2021 opened August 1 and closed September 4, 2020. Interested producers submitted project concepts and detailed plans addressing how they intend to create work designed for a digital platform. Projects were adjudicated by the GROW PANEL, a diverse community panel of artists and arts administrators. Panelists did not vote or deliberate on conflict of interest projects. This was ensured by non-voting panelists: Nicole Lane, Festival Director, and Dre Slaman, Managing Director. Vote-based evaluation criteria: 1/artistic merit of the outlined "act of creation" project concept; 2/proposal's attention and planning for how the content will be recorded and presented for online production and viewing audience interest; 3/ overall project interest. Deliberation and discussion encompassed how the overall work addressed Fertile Ground's aim to: 1/offer culturally competent works of art; 2/to increase festival access to a broader range of artists; 3/prioritize the work of underrepresented artists in the community. Learn more here.

The GROW PANEL, a convened decision-making body for Fertile Ground 2021, adjudicated applications for the GROW AWARD, as well as full Fertile Ground 2021. The GROW PANEL is composed of individuals whose identities encompass a spectrum of underrepresented voices, along with Fertile Ground and PATA representatives. Demonstrating Fertile Ground's commitment to broadening representative inclusion of local artists, the panel was instituted in order to include a wider range of community artists and create an equity-infused decision-making process for the 12th annual festival of new works. This shift offers an opportunity for Fertile Ground to evolve, ensure representation, and actively engage in pro-inclusivity and power-sharing practices.

GROW PANEL members include: Sara Jean Accaurdi, Roy Arauz (Facilitator), Michael Cavazos, Jane Comer, James Dixon, Tracy Cameron Francis, Robert Guitron, Heath Hyun Houghton, Anthony Hudson, Nicole Lane, Bianca McCarthy (Facilitator), Matthew Miller, Jeanette Mmunga, Val Yvette Peterson, Tess Raunig, Dre Slaman, Logan Starnes, Samson Syharath, and Mark Woodlief. Learn more about the panelists here.

In order to serve a wider range of artists and audiences in the community, as well as prepare to offer a virtual festival, Fertile Ground has undertaken significant structural changes to create an equity-infused process that prioritizes inclusivity for the 12th annual festival of new works. To accomplish these ambitious shifts, both the festival framework and decision-making structures have been revised, which are departures from previous years.

Fertile Ground's virtual festival will present pre-recorded "acts of creation," submitted by producing organizations and artist-producers. Recorded premieres will be live-dropped at scheduled intervals over the course of the 11-day festival, and streamed on Fertile Ground's Facebook and YouTube channels. The show time slot for each premiere will be randomly assigned.

Submissions for the general 2021 Fertile Ground Festival are currently being accepted. The festival welcomes projects from a wide range of artists on a variety of topics and an array of artistic genres and disciplines.

"At this time, in our local and national landscape, our community needs artists' voices more than ever," said Dre Slaman, Fertile Ground Managing Director. "This re-imagined virtual Fertile Ground is about innovation, inclusion, and, most of all, the resilience of our local artistic community."

"I believe we have a pivotal, vital opportunity to meaningfully invite new artistic voices into the festival while challenging all artists to innovate their work for this new kind of digital performance, and in doing so, evolve Fertile Ground," said Nicole Lane, Fertile Ground Festival Director. "We are working on these changes intentionally and swiftly with more pieces falling into place daily. It has been inspiring to work with an incredible group of people to redesign Fertile Ground with our sights set on a bringing a vibrant festival of new work to at-home audiences that features inventive 'acts of creation' from an array of local artists who are emphatically representational of our entire community."