The Board of Directors of PAE is delighted to announce that Paul Susi, who has been serving as Interim Artistic Director, has accepted our offer to serve as Artistic Director of Portland Actors Ensemble. Paul’s vision for our future and his respect for the history of this company will see us well into our 50th season, and beyond.  Paul, who is an accomplished artist and vital voice for the arts in the Portland community was recently recognized for his extensive contributions by the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Please click the link below for a glimpse of Paul’s vision and some of the other theater honorees:

In addition to his artistic contributions, Paul has many other passions and projects that make his voice vital in our community and an excellent match for PAE. Paul is a tireless advocate for the houseless and the marginalized through his involvement in the Transition Project and Street Books. His leadership in the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project invites us to engage in deeper conversations as community members about important topics such as education, home, and diversity.

Paul’s many accomplishments outside of theater are too many to list here, but let it suffice to say that his unique perspective is a fantastic match to PAE’s goals of accessibility, inclusivity, and integrity. With that said, I’d like to introduce Paul Susi, Artistic Director, in his own words:

“PAE / Shakespeare in the Parks has long been many things to this community. For many audiences, we’ve offered them their first experiences with live theater and with Shakespeare. For many actors and artists, we’ve been important milestones in their careers and ambitions. Above all, we’ve been a living commitment to free and equal access to our common cultural heritage, no matter how privileged or marginalized you may be, and this continues to be the keystone of our mission in this vibrant, glorious community.

I am so proud and honored to lead this fantastic organization, particularly as our community continues to experience profound change and growth. As an artist of color, a native Portlander and as someone who cares deeply about Shakespeare, I’m so, so excited for the opportunity to promote a broader, unexpected vision of these works, and to highlight how they speak to our turbulent now. When so many other companies have diminished or disappeared altogether, free, “poor” theaters have endured beyond anyone’s expectations. We are resolved to build on this generous heritage, and to pursue greater rigor, excellence, professionalism, and daring innovation, than ever before.

I strongly encourage anyone who’s ever felt left behind or silenced to join us in fulfilling this mission. We welcome all of our devoted, loyal audiences, and all of you newly discovering outdoor theater. To paraphrase a little-known poet, our love for you is as boundless as the sea, and as deep. The more we give to you, the more we have, for both are infinite.”

Welcome, Paul! And please stay tuned for our season announcement on March 27th!

Yours in service,

Sherry Ostendorf

Board Chair