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Download a flyer listing the Fertile Ground 2016 shows at Lakewood.

2016 Fertile Ground Plays Presented at Lakewood

Fertile Ground at Lakewood 2015Lakewood Center for the Arts will host four staged readings during Fertile Ground, the city-wide new works festival based in Portland. Listen in as a playwright, with professional actors, shares the dialogue of a script with an audience­—sometimes for the first time, sometimes with fresh revisions, always seeking input.

Single Tickets for our readings are $10 at Lakewood Box Office and online at Festival passes are $50 and available by ordering through See the full schedule at

The four shows include:

  • Burning Basil, Saturday, Jan 23 @ 2 PM
  • Under the Yew Tree, Sunday, Jan 24 @ 2 PM
  • Matthew McConaughey vs. The Devil, Tuesday, Jan 26 @ 7 PM
  • A Mischief of Rats, Wednesday, Jan 27 @ 7 PM

All of the Lakewood Fertile Ground offerings will be staged readings and are world premieres (defined as not having had a fully staged production in another venue in its current form regionally or nationally).

Burning Basil

Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 2:00 PMBurnBasil_lakewood_web.jpg
By Cheryl E. Grant
Directed by Cheryl E. Grant
Burning Basil is a romantic comedy about love, loss, identity and rites of passage. William is a poet, lost in his life, at the far end of his successful career. He is literally haunted by the spirit of a lost soul by the name of Bea who is pulling him deeper into her own loss. William’s great love is Wendy, his muse, and a former ballet dancer who is lost in her second career in real estate and upcoming engagement. Will their accidental reunion help them find their way forward as individuals or will they get lost together?


Under the Yew Tree

Sunday, January 24, 2016 at 2:00 PM
By Ron Lee
Directed by Cynthia Whitcomb


The Harrison family has been farming the same acres for generations. Now Thomas (Curt Hanson) is getting too old to work the place, but he is determined not to let down his ancestors. His wife Frances (Margie Boulé) is pressuring him to sell and finally travel with her. Their only son was killed in a plane crash a few months ago. In his last letter he promised his parents a surprise when he came home. Just as Thomas is about to sign the sale documents, the surprise that comes through the door changes everything.

Margie Boulé will read the role of Frances and Curt Hanson will portray Thomas. C.S. Whitcomb (author of last year’s Seven Wonders of Ballyknock ) will direct the reading. Ron Lee is a Liverpool playwright. In his life he has been many things including a writer for BBC radio dramas, and a farmer. He is pleased to bring some of these experiences to his work in “Under the Yew Tree.”

Matthew McConaughey vs. The DevilMMvsDevil_lakewood_No_credit.jpg

Tuesday, January 26, 7 PM

Music by Jonathan Quesenberry
Lyrics by Jonathan Quesenberry and Carrie Morgan
Book by Emilie Landmann and Carrie Morgan
Directed by Emilie Landmann
Musical direction Jonathan Quesenberry
Matthew McConaughey vs. The Devil is a musical retelling of Faust for movie aficionados, tabloid readers, and millennials too lazy to read Faust. Fact checked against Matthew McConaughey’s real life, this twist on the classic “sell your soul” story features McConaughey as he struggles against all odds to win an Oscar... and save his own soul.

A Mischief of RatsMofRats_Lakewood_No_Credit.jpg

Wednesday, January 27, 7 PM

By Katherine Lloyd-Knox
Directed by Leslie Gale
And you thought your family had problems! Is family what you’re born into or is it something you create? The hairy ties that bind these characters are a rat’s nest of complicated relationships each is trying to understand. In doing so, maybe they’ll realize that even if the path taken isn’t the one you meant to; it might just be the one for you. After all, it’s not your life changes that decide who you are, but the decisions you make that change your life.

About Fertile Ground

Fertile Ground 2016 is a 11-day arts festival that will be held January 21 through 31 in Portland, Oregon. This city-wide festival is focused on new work in the Arts. It will feature world premiere projects, staged readings, developing works and a myriad of other arts events from the Portland creative community. The 2015 Festival included more than 75 Portland-generated new works. From fully staged world premieres in theatre, to ensemble and collaborative driven work, dance, comedy, visual art and film…this festival spans the spectrum of creative endeavor and seeds the next generation of creation through artist conversations, workshops, lunchtime readings and more.

Unlike a typical fringe festival, Fertile Ground features the finest new work of our LOCAL artists, performers and resident theater companies, ensuring that the artistic and financial benefits of the festival stay in Portland. Where other New Works Festivals are curated by one theater company and typically feature a string of staged readings, this festival is collaboratively shaped by variety of aesthetic voices.
Fertile Ground features a full range of artistic experience, 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 or self-produced companies, the Fertile Ground Festival offers the breadth of creation. For this reason we feel this festival is nationally unique, providing a new model for creating and sharing new work that will be of substantive value to the national theater and arts.

Fertile Ground was launched by the Portland Area Theatre Alliance (the service organization for Portland theater artists and organizations) in 2009 to provide a platform for Portland theater companies to showcase their commitment to new work; and to invite regional and national artists, artistic leaders and arts aficionados to discover for themselves that Portland truly is fertile ground for creativity, innovation, and daring acts of performance. Fertile Ground has grown its scope of offerings to encompass the open field of arts creation to include dance, comedy  and visual arts. Fertile Ground aspires to provide a forum where art lovers near and far will come to appreciate that Portland truly is fertile ground for creativity, innovation, and daring acts of performance.

About Lakewood Theatre Company

63 Years of Live Theatre: Founded as a not-for-profit organization in 1952, Lakewood Theatre Company is a professional theatre dedicated to the study and presentation of drama in all its forms; the training and development of actors; and the creation, maintenance and operation of a theatre in which to present plays and other forms of entertainment. Lakewood Theatre Company is the oldest continually operated, not-for-profit theatre company in the Portland Metropolitan area. It annually provides more than 400 theatre artists the opportunity to learn and display their craft and attracts more than 40,000 people to its shows.

Creative Teams for Fertile Ground 2016 at Lakewood

Burning Basil Jan. 23, 2016: Cheryl E. Grant, playwright

Cheryl E. Grant, playwright - Burning Basil

Cast of Burning Basil, Jan 23, 2016

  Cast of Burning Basil at Lakewood Theatre Company, Jan. 23, 2016

Ron Lee, Playwright - Under the Yew Tree, Jan. 24, 2016

Ron Lee, playwright, Under the Yew Tree

 Cast of Under the Yew Tree, Jan 24, 2016

Under the Yew Tree cast at Lakewood Theatre Company, Jan 24, 2016

 Creators of Matthew McConaughy vs The Devil: Carrie Morgan, Jon Quesenberry and Emilie Landmann

 Creators of Matthew McConaughey vs The Devil

Cast of Matthew McConaughey vs The Devil, Jan. 26, 2016

Jan 26, 2016: cast of Matthew McConaughey vsd The Devil 

 Cast of A Mischief of Rats, Jan. 27, 2016

A Mischief of Rats cast, Jan. 27, 2016 at Lakewood Theatre Company


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Season support for Lakewood is provided by:

  • Regional Arts & Culture Council
  • Work for Art
  • Oregon Arts Commision
  • Art Works
  • Oregon Live - Oregonian