Oregon’s Sanctuary Stage

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Artists often talk of a sense of community, a place that creatively engages a sense of social cultural history that is deeply tied and inseparable from their local environment. The phrase community art is a practice at the intersection of the artist and the neighborhood that emphasizes collaboration between the artist and community. Projects most often take place as a means of revitalizing a community or providing an opportunity for community members to engage in a creative process. Without advocating a specific political stance, Oregon’s Sanctuary Stage has integrated the practice of theatre with that of place and sanctuary. This is not limited to a concept of sanctuary as “an escape from,” it is instead, entering into an act of self-discovery and self-understanding in relationship to other members of a local community and its environment. This article discusses Sanctuary Stage’s process of theatre making as an example in which the stage space becomes a sanctuary for the sustainability of individual and community identity, and thus, influences the cultural and political context of a community.