The Actors Conservatory

Better together: Stage & school

Artists Repertory Theatre and The Actors Conservatory join forces to create a new teaching and performing dynamic in Portland

Last month, Artists Repertory Theatre and The Actors Conservatory announced a creative alliance that will increase career training and educational opportunities, expand ART’s revenue model, and help generations of artists to exchange knowledge and share expertise.

The two organizations officially began collaborating four years ago, when The Actors Conservatory, a nationally accredited school for actor training, moved into ART’s building. But the relationship between the two organizations goes back much further.

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“I started the conservatory 35 years ago,” said Beth Harper, founder and producing artistic director of TAC, “and all my professional work as an actor was with Artists Rep. So honestly, as an artist, I consider [ART] my artistic home.”

As conservatory students began appearing in ART shows, the two companies began sharing resources behind the scenes as well.

“Then the pandemic hit,” said Harper. “And we said, ‘How can we deepen this?’”

Dámaso Rodríguez, artistic director for Artists Repertory Theatre, outlined what he feels the alliance achieves for ART: “The chief benefit is different generations of artists working together, and what that does for the chemistry and the art that you’re making. That’s an exciting energy.”

As Harper put it, “You can’t buy experience. It’s a great opportunity for our students.”

Wyatt Hodgson, a second-year student at The Actors Conservatory, working on “The Vertical City,” a coproduction with Artists Rep. Photo: Shawn Lee