Home - About BaseRoots


BaseRoots Theatre Company uses the African American experience to create theatre that enriches, excites and galvanizes the greater community as a whole.



BaseRoots is an activist theatre company. By this we mean that we assume the artists responsibility of reflecting the culture we live in, shaping it and nurturing it to new maturity. Our work will reflect a commitment to excellence at an affordable price. A large part of the BaseRoots vision is to bring an old art form to new communities and thus re-imagining both the art and the communities in a dynamic, diverse and tolerant reality. We will do this not just with our work and our resources but by negotiating and networking with other artists and arts and culture organizations of a like mind and intention.

Outreach in the local school system, workshops and residencies conducted by these experienced group of educators, in order to expand horizons and introduce opportunities is an integral part of our vision. Further, it is BaseRoots intention to nurture and develop young and upcoming artists here as well as bring in others from around the nation and perhaps even the world to excite and educate Portland audiences. It is our intention to be not just a theatre company, but a multi-disciplinary rallying point for the artists and families of our neighborhoods and our city.

The goal of BaseRoots is to reach the African-American community, young people unfamiliar with theatre as an art form, and the residents of North, Northeast, Southeast and downtown Portland. In hard times it is more necessary, not less so, for art to reach the community and give them a voice, a sanctuary and a purpose. This is BaseRoots.

BaseRoots will be a place where artists of the pan-African continuum can come and know that they can find work, and where people of that same community will know that they can come and see their stories told in all their myriad incarnations. Within these parameters BaseRoots is an inclusive group. We believe that true celebration of any culture, any people, means celebration of every culture and every people.

BaseRoots makes art accessible to each strata of the community, regardless of economic status. We will do this in a practical sense by providing tickets to our shows at an affordable price, and by coming to our audiences in their communities in venues and environments that are familiar and attractive to them and by providing them with opportunities that might not normally be open to them.

BaseRoots takes the initiative not only in discovering and developing artists of color but in finding them an audience. This encompasses providing artists work in BaseRoots productions or events but also in finding venues to support a given artist in whatever discipline they work in.

BaseRoots is environmentally conscious and educates and promotes this awareness amongst its artists and its audience.

BaseRoots is not a partisan organization but it is a political organization. We believe that it is impossible to fully participate in a democratic society and not be political. However, we feel the stories we tell and the ways in which we tell them will delineate the scope and direction of our politics rather than the other way around and will therein be readily apparent to everyone who cares to know where we stand on any given issue.

BaseRoots will pay its artists a competitive compensation for their services. BaseRoots recognizes the talent, skill, perseverance, inspiration and perspiration that it takes to be an artist in twenty-first century America and believes that payment honors not just the present work but the traditions sustained, traditions that reach back into the shadows of history and to every corner of the globe. BaseRoots will seek at every turn to pay the artist compensation that will make it possible for them to do their best work by applying as much of their energy as possible to creating that work.

BaseRoots is not a theatre about race. It is a theatre about flavor and community. Our heritage defines our story and informs our storytelling. It is not restrictive. It is an expansive concept and an inclusive idea. Life is art.