About Us

History & Mission, a Message from the Artistic Director, Non-profit Status, and Strategic Planning.

Portland’s Original Shakespeare-in-the-Parks, since 1970

As one of Portland’s longest running theatre companies, the mission for PAE’s Shakespeare-In-The-Parks program has remained virtually unchanged since its first season: “To bring financially accessible classical theater to Portland communities in a non-traditional environment”. We have stood by this mission for over 44 years, and will continue to do so. We are a community service organization and our goal is to share the best theatrical productions possible with all of the people of Portland for decades to come.  To learn more, visit our History page.

I remember the first time that I experienced PAE’s Shakespeare-in-the-Parks.  It was Much Ado About Nothing, 25 years ago now, and I was spending my first summer in Portland as a college student.  Some friends and I heard about the performance and decided to check it out, after all, the price was certainly right.  Arriving at the park and setting up a blanket near the stage line, we didn’t know quite what to expect.  There was no huge set, no lights, just the actors warming up backstage, in various stages of costuming.  As “curtain” time approached, a host thanked the audience for coming and made a few announcements, and all of a sudden the show had begun! I remember remarking to my friends that this is a great way to experience theatre, in the fresh air and sunshine.

Since then, much has changed, and some things have not.  In 1989 not enough people had pagers to bother asking audiences to turn them off.  Today, we ask our audiences to post pictures to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in real time (using their silenced phones, of course).  What have not changed are the mission of PAE and the joy of experiencing Shakespeare-in-the-Parks during our beautiful Northwest summers. We continue to gladly and proudly embrace our environment in our productions and performances.  Every summer since 1970, PAE has presented at least one Shakespeare play, free of charge, to anyone who wants to come out to the park and join in the fun.

As Artistic Director of Portland Actors Ensemble, I am extremely honored to be entrusted with caring for this treasure of our shared cultural landscape.  PAE is undergoing tremendous growth in both artistry and organization as we are already planning for our 50th season in 2019!  By bringing on new board members, sponsors, business partnerships, and the Friends of PAE (our supporter membership), our plan is to continue to expand our reach and to offer some of the best theatre around, and to continue to give it away, for free, to everyone, forever.  Because everyone deserves great theatre.

Good Will for All!

Michael Godsey - Artistic Director


Portland Actors Ensemble is recognized as a 501c3 non-profit organization. Your donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. To obtain our letter of non-profit determination, please contact us at info@portlandactors.com.


Portland Actors’ Ensemble is proud to announce that we are embarking on a strategic planning process to propel our mission toward our 50th year season in 2019.  Currently, we are finding stakeholders such as audience members, donors, community leaders, and friends from the theatre community to participate in this exciting visioning process!  Most participants will only be asked to come to one or two meetings, and we’ll bring the refreshments.  Only those who speak will be heard, so if you want to have a say in  the future of free Shakespeare-in-the-Parks, we want to talk to you!  Contact info@portlandactors.com to be heard.

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