Past Programs

MAY 21, 2019 :: Displaced/Detained/Discovered
One Street Performer’s Journey into the 

Unheard, Unseen, & Undiscovered  

This is the true story of one street performer’s journey through the streets of Nigeria, Ireland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and back to Portland, told through the words of the people living on those streets. Armed with only a violin and a guitar to soothe the world’s displaced, and ultimately herself, she asks the question: “How do you navigate a world in which you must close your eyes in order to stay sane?” In the end, she discovers the silent voices of Latina mothers behind the locked doors of ICE buildings, in the form of handwritten letters brought to life on the stage. Several Portland area homeless support organizations will be present at the event to guide compassionate audience members into action.

This work made possible by a grant from the SAMUEL LAWRENCE FOUNDATION.

APRIL 16, 2019 :: The Future is Fluid

What does it mean to be transgender? What is the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity? Why is transgender equality so important?

Join us for The Future is Fluid, Developing Fluency in a Nonbinary World, an evening of personal expression facilitated by Jenn Burleton, founder of TransActive Gender Center. You are invited to listen as teenage girls engage in conversation about their own journeys of transition.

The TOC “We Can Listen” event includes music by Acchord and a “look to the future” panel discussion with Miriam J. Abelson, Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Portland State University, Jess Guerriero, a social worker at OHSU’s Transgender Health Program, and Erin Waters, a Community Health Navigator for Kaiser Permanente Northwest.

Tuesday October 16, 2018 :: 
D’marginalizing the Margins: A Spotlight on Equity in Theatre

Theatre was meant to tell the truth about life and the social situation (Stella Adler). What if theatre is not telling the truth about life? What if theatre is not relevant to the social situation? Artists who live and work in the margins of mainstream theatre will talk about the obstacles that they experience and their perseverance in making socially conscious art. Join us for an inspiring and transformative conversation as we spotlight equity as the cornerstone of art and of humanity.

JUNE 12, 2018 :: I AM A SURVIVOR


Screenings of socially conscious art, a talk by the artist Anya Pearson, and a panel discussion which ask the question: HOW DO WE HEAL FROM TRAUMA?


Programmed by the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, seven Native American artists share their perspectives through their art. The first half of the program will focus on the individual artists through film, art, performance and stories.

Topics in the panel discussion include an exploration on how the artists’ work address issues around visibility, identity, essentialism and stereotype. The discussion will also focus on how the artists’ work addresses justice issues that affect Native communities locally.

Cassandra Frost, Actress, Member of The Cheyenne River Sioux of South Dakota Anthony Hudson, Multidisciplinary/Performe , Grand Ronde LaRonn Katchia, Filmmaker, Tribal member Warm Springs Indian Reservation Jacqueline Keeler, Writer, Navajo/Yankton Dakota Sioux Brenda Mallory,  Visual/Textile, Member of the Cherokee Nation Isacc Trimble, Film producer, Flute maker, Apache/Yaqui Shirod Younker, Traditional/Multidisciplinay, Coquille & Coos 


Empowerment through the Arts – Dance, theater, fashion, storytelling, song and self-care on the path to healing and self actualization. We honor the journey, and explore the complex roles Black Women play within their immediate communities and the world at large.

September 12, 2017 :: Black Girl in Suburbia
presented Melissa Lowery’s feature documentary that looks into the experiences of black girls growing up in predominately white communities. As a film, Black Girl in Suburbia is intended to spark an open dialogue about race, identity and perspective among all people. After the screening, Melissa was joined on stage by two millennial women to discuss their life experiences that ran parallel to those shared in the film. A member of the audience who had been featured in the documentary was also invited to join the conversation.

June 13, 2017 :: Everybody Comes From Somewhere,
drew on stories created through Portland Story Theater’s Urban Tellers® series, and featured organic, true stories of immigrants and refugees now living in Portland, Oregon. The stories told addressed the ‘othering’ that has escalated in our country by humanizing and building connection within our urban community. The participating storytellers came from Somalia, Indonesia, Venezuela, Mexico and Belgium. The Old Church was grateful for the support of The Portland Story Theater through this collaboration.

May 9, 2017 :: Together We Make a Village
focused on recent efforts to address homelessness in Portland through a design process that brought together a range of stakeholders, including architects, activists, city agencies, and houseless individuals. People with lived experience of homelessness, took the stage alongside representatives from PSU’s Center for Public Interest Design, the Pod Initiative, the Village Coalition, the City of Portland, and Catholic Charities to discuss The Kenton Women’s Village, in NE Portland, as a model for supporting community making, and strong social infrastructure among villages of houseless individuals.

April 11, 2017 :: The Power of Being Heard
Three women of diverse backgrounds delivered narratives drawn from their own lives, and engaged in a moderated group discussion. The participants included an African American millennial from Chicago, a Portland native of both African and Native American descent, and a survivor of the 1996 Rwandan genocide. The range of topics they delved into encompassed racism, oppression, genocide, peace, reconciliation, and action from local, historical and global perspectives.