Arts Equity Inc. was founded in 1983 in Washington DC. It was from its beginning a company that had as its mission: To create Equity in the Arts.
Over the past several decades we have written and produced works ranging from documentary films like "Sojourn of Healing" and "Mother's Requiem" to world premiers of new stage plays like Rod Harrel's "Now Let Me Say This About That."
The company has co-produced more than a dozen works in collaboration with numerous artists and independent producers in Portland since 1990 including "AE, the Disappearance and Death of Amelia Earhart" which won an Oregon Literary Arts Award for the playwright E. J. Westlake in 1991. In the past we have received grants from The Kinsman Foundation plus The Regional Arts and Culture Council for our own productions and have been listed as collaborators on several more. Our productions have often involved long sold out runs of shows like "Steel Magnolias" and "Greater Tuna" at Sylvia's Class Act Dinner Theatre.
Concurrent with relocating to the Vancouver/Portland Area in 1990 we began to focus on the development and production of new works for the stage and the music-theatre genre. In 1996 we were a part of the Composer Librettist Studio conducted by the Nautilus Music-Theatre of Minneapolis. In 1997 we co-produced a second studio in Portland. Out of these two studios have come an association with playwrights and composers who collaborated with Arts Equity. Together with long time performers they make up the bulk of the artistic core for our company. Arts Equity was reincorporated in Washington state in 2001 as we began our search for a suitable performance space in Vancouver.
On June 17 2005 we opened Arts Equity in a renovated space we dubbed "The Main Street Theatre". We were part of the redevelopment of the downtown core in historic Vancouver. After a three year lease and 467 performances we closed our downtown Vancouver space and have become for the time being a local touring company working in the greater Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area while we look for a new and more suitable theatre location.
During our tenure at The Main Street Theatre, we tackled the great playwrights of the theatrical canon including: Harold Pinter, Eugene O'Neill, Edward Albee, Steve Martin, Eugene Ionesco, Nikola Gogol and Paula Vogel. Along the way we kept contemporary with up and coming international playwrights like Tad Savinar, Tom Cone, Kevin Kling, Willy Russel and have produced world premiers for regional playwrights like Connor Kerns, Ellen West, Gretchen O'Halloran, Molly Tinsley, John Donnelly, Mark Steering and Llewellyn J. Rhoe.
Our productions have created a very similar reaction to our quest for excellence: "I can't believe I saw that in Vancouver!" Our production of the tour de force musical "Herringbone" featuring Taylor Askman (book by Tom Cone, Music by Skip Kennon, lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh) holds the record for number of performances and brought Arts Equity an international reputation for successfully mounting difficult material.
Our name Arts Equity, embodies what we want to accomplish: equity in the arts. Equity for those creating, and an equity stakeholder attitude shared by our patrons base.
The medium we choose is collaboration. Collaboration is a "state of grace" we switch into, and out of as the moment and the task demands. It is a process where individuals with complimentary skills interact to create an understanding that none had previously possessed or could have come to on their own.
These complimentary human beings and skills produce the friction and emotional heat that generate the "works of living art"-- works by new masters creating modern classics.