For two weeks every summer, Portland Center Stage bursts at the seams with new play energy. JAW (short for Just Add Water) fills the Armory with playwrights, actors, directors, dramaturgs, stage managers, production assistants, and sometimes even dogs and babies. Rehearsals fill up every nook and cranny of the building while the copy machine whirs day and night, with new pages and fresh scripts churning back into the rehearsal rooms. The two-week blur of activity ends with staged readings that are free and open to the public, and a smorgasbord of performances throughout the Armory from local theater and arts ensembles.

Since launching in 1999, JAW's principal focus continues to be the playwright and the creative process. Four Playwrights chosen from nearly 200 submissions nationwide collaborate with directors, dramaturgs, actors, and other theater professionals from across the U.S. to read, revise, and sometimes completely re-write their scripts, discovering through the process what does or does not work in the transition from page to stage. Joining them are Promising Playwrights, high school students selected from PCS’s Visions & Voices program, who write and develop their own short plays, working alongside the professionals. All of the playwrights’ works are then presented in staged readings for the public.


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