Our Mission

The leading professional theater in Northern New England, Portland Stage is committed to creating great art, passionate about using the theater to educate, and dedicated to enriching our community.

Portland Stage:

  • Produces exceptional live theater.
  • Demands the highest professional standards and transparency throughout the organization.
  • Inspires new artists and audiences and fosters experimentation and artistic risk.
  • Creates innovative educational programming for thousands of students and teachers, as well as audiences of all ages.
  • Adheres to the highest standards of fiscal responsibility, while engaging dedicated long-term donors to provide a stable financial base.
  • Adapts and improves systems, resources and facilities in support of artistic excellence.

Historical Overview

In 1973, a group of actors came together with a shared goal of creating a theater, one that produces compelling plays through artistic collaboration. Along the road together, this artistic journey led to the creation of a non-profit professional theater. Like the plays we produce, Portland Stage started as an idea and matured through major challenges by remaining true to its collective vision: to present illuminating plays that challenge, inspire, and reflect. Portland Stage is passionately committed to being a vital partner in the fabric of our community by building relationships through hard work, transparency, collaboration, and education. In 1990 we launched the Little Festival of the Unexpected as a way to showcase and develop new work. In 1998 Artistic & Executive Director Anita Stewart decided to strengthen our commitment to new work by partnering with the Clauder Competition, ensuring that every three years Portland Stage would produce a new and exciting play by a New England playwright on our Mainstage. Most recently, in 2010, we strengthened our Education Programs by opening our Theater for Kids space which houses our Play Me a Story programs, Summer Camps, and more.


Read about Anita Stewart, our Executive and Artistic Director in Portland Magazine.

Values and Vision


Our work is always evolving to stay relevant. We are entrepreneurs, innovating, asking questions, cultivating and incubating. From artists to audience, from long time subscribers to interns and students, our productions, as well as our education and artistic programs, continually evolve to meet the needs of our constituents, thus remaining relevant to our community.

Our work engages, connects and builds understanding. Through the intimate, personal exchanges that happen through live theater and hands-on programs, we help to shape our community and build greater understanding of the “other.” We interpret and share stories from around the world to better understand ourselves and our place in the world.

Our work is created in our community for our community. Building productions from the ground up, we combine the best local talent with artists from around the nation bringing our community into the process and building lasting relationships as a result. Our artists actively engage with students and the broader community.


As a leading arts institution in our state, Portland Stage is a hub of creative activity. Our community takes pride in the theater and actively engages in its wide range of first-rate productions and transformative programs. Our nationally known, innovative education programs are built with the same rigor as our professional productions. Acknowledged as a gem by the field, our productions attract outstanding artists as well as a diverse audience, while our artistic programs incubate new work and inspire new artists. Our open and inviting building allows artists and audiences to connect around the work which is relevant to the community in which we live and sparks discussion and dialogue. We have strong financial underpinnings, an effective staff and Board which allow continued innovation and improvement. We are transparent in our objectives and collaborate with other like-minded institutions.