Portland Experimental Theater Ensemble was founded in 2011 by a group of mid-career theater artists dedicated to creating contemporary works of performance.


As a collaborative ensemble, each member of PETE has an equal stake in both the administrative and artistic leadership of the company. We believe in the power of consensus, collaboration, and ensemble in the act of making theater. Company members have worked locally with Portland Playhouse, Imago Theatre, Third Rail Repertory, Shaking The Tree, Allie Hankins, and Zoe/Juniper and have national credits in New York, Seattle and Boston. As professional artists we see PETE as an artistic home where we are most fully able to explore and challenge our core artistic beliefs and share them with our community.


PETE strives to reach a wide and diverse audience. We engage traditional audiences in unconventional performance, as well as employing music, media and audience engagement to bring a whole new generation to contemporary theater. Through our performances and training center we seek to create a vibrant community dialogue with Portland audiences and artists about the transformative power of the live theatrical event. In addition, we engage with audiences on a national and international level, by engaging in partnerships with other theaters and hosting guest artists.


Since its inception in 2011, PETE’s work has been produced by Risk/Reward, On the Boards, Caldera, and PCS’s JAW Festival. Major works include: Enter THE NIGHT, with NYC director Alice Reagan (2015); the premiere of a new English translation of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, with translator/director Stepan Simek (2014), R3: After Shakespeare (2013), and an original work, Song of the Dodo (2013). PETE has received 2 Drammy Awards, and 2 Drammy nominations including Best Production for The Three Sisters.

PETE’s most recent project was an 18-month exploration of the themes, landscapes and characters inside of and surrounding Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The project, entitled The Journey Play is the Whole Thing; a constellation of objects, events and experiences began in June 2015 with Drowned Horse Tavern at CoHo’s Summerfest, continued with All Well; a sightless play (Oct 2015, with Third Rail @ Imago), [or, the whale] (Jan 2016, Reed College), and Procedures for Saying No (June 2016, Shaking The Tree).

PETE has received support from RACC, The Celebration Foundation, PACLab, Caldera, the Headwaters Artist-in-Residence Program, the Princess Grace Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, The Kinsman Foundation, The Jackson Foundation, Portland Civic Theatre Guild and the Oregon Cultural Trust.


Want to know more? You can email us at info@petensemble.org.