Miracle Theatre Group (Portland, OR)

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Two characters beating a third while shocked onlookers react.

The citizens are in outrage when the usurping Comendador attacks the town’s mayor in the Miracle Theatre Group’s production of Fuente Ovejuna.  Photo by José González

Over its 18-year history, the Miracle Theatre Group has provided the Northwest region with quality theater, art, and cultural experiences that highlight Hispanic culture and annually reach more than 7,000 people.  The three components of its organization—theater season, touring program, and cultural programs—are all created with the Hispanic community and its culture in mind.  In the last decade, Oregon’s Latino population has grown by 144 percent, creating a need for a forum to celebrate Hispanic culture and address issues in the Hispanic community.  In response, the Miracle Theatre Group provides bilingual productions and outreach programs designed for the monolingual Spanish community.

In FY 2005, Miracle Theatre Group received an NEA Access to Artistic Excellence grant of $8,000 to produce a new translation of Lope de Vega’s Fuente Ovejuna.  A collaboration between playwright and translator William S. Gregory and Miracle Theatre Group’s Artistic Associate and native Spanish speaker Daniel Jáquez, the new translation attempts to retain elements of the original—its liveliness and urgency as well as its poetic grace—that have been missing in previous translations.  In his classic masterpiece, Lope de Vega, a contemporary of Shakespeare’s, confronted many issues which resonate in today’s society—the nature of leadership, the role of government in its citizens’ lives, and a person’s ability to challenge and address social, political, and economic inequalities.  In order to give audiences the chance to explore and discuss these issues in depth, Miracle Theatre Group designed community outreach projects around the production, such as public lectures, study school guides, and audience talk-backs.

(From the NEA 2005 Annual Report)