Take a crumbling, cavernous fortress with a motley past. Add artists, actors, architects, and musicians, and mix in generous doses of optimism and motivation. What do you get? The Portland Armory building in its newest and perhaps best incarnation. After a 13-month renovation, the Pearl District landmark is now a state-of-the-art performance hall for Portland Center Stage. This fall the city’s largest theater company christened its new home with performances of West Side Story, running through November 5. I Am My Own Wife, winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for drama, opens on November 7, and This Wonderful Life, a one-man holiday comedy, begins November 26.
The castle like structure was built in 1891 for the Oregon National Guard. Over the years, it has sheltered baseball games, the Chicago Symphony, and barrels of Henry Weinhard’s beer.
The revived armory features a 600-seat theater, a smaller studio theater, a café, and a multistory lobby with the original brick walls and massive ceiling trusses. Water-recycling systems and lighting controlled by motion sensors help make this a green building.
For tickets, call (503) 274-6588 or log on to www.pcs.org
Photography by Robbie McClaren
This article was first published in November 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.