Every summer, we get reminded about the vitality of this ever-changing, crazy fun, wild world of theater. JAW (short for Just Add Water) takes over the Armory as the universe of artists required to make a play — writers, directors, dramaturgs, actors, stage managers — gathers to pull apart and then put back together, the newest work from some of the country's most exciting writers. At first the work is done in separate rooms, play by play; thoughtfully assembled groups with intense focus and brave brains. Then, as the two weeks reaches its final days, the building opens wide with the Big Weekend, inviting hundreds of audience members to become part of the creation by joining us for staged readings of these spanking new scripts - and a slew of performances from other Portland theaters and arts ensembles - all free and open to the public. Join us!

Since launching in 1999, JAW's principal focus continues to be the playwright and the creative process.   Four Playwrights chosen from nearly 200 submissions nationwide collaborate with directors, dramaturgs, actors, and other theater professionals from across the U.S. to read, revise, and sometimes completely re-write their scripts, discovering through the process what does or does not work in the transition from page to stage. Joining them are Promising Playwrights,  high school students selected from PCS’s Visions & Voices program, who write and develop their own short plays, working alongside the professionals. All of the playwrights’ works are then presented in staged readings for the public.

The 2016 festival begins on July 18th with the public readings July 29-31.

*Dates are subject to change.*

JAW 2015 photos (L to R): Rehearsal of Wink by Silverman, audience gathers in the Armory, table read for Miller, Mississippi by Boo Killibrew

As always, JAW is FREE and open to the public.

Script submissions

Closed. We are no longer accepting script submissions for JAW 2016. Submissions for JAW 2017 will begin on November 1, 2016. Please check back in the fall for submission guidelines.

press play

Dynamic performance pieces hand-selected for JAW will animate the building and engage audience members before every reading. Dancers, puppeteers and musicians will pop up throughout the building before and after readings.

"Mothers and Daughters," Susannah Mars and Merideth Kaye Clark, JAW 2015

Eowyn Emerald Dancers, JAW 2015

community artist labs

Artists from across the nation will conduct labs for our local community. Admission is FREE, but in order to maintain a high level of quality, attendance for each lab is limited and determined by random lottery. 

promising playwrights

The 18th annual JAW: A Playwrights Festival will kick off with staged readings of new scripts from six Portland-area high school playwrights. Come ready to celebrate and socialize.  These Promising Playwrights are selected from our Visions & Voices Playwriting Program, a residency program offered to Portland-area schools.

jaw staff

Just a few of the hardworking folks behind the JAW festival. Contact us at jaw@pcs.org.

Rose Riordan - JAW Festival Director

Kelsey Tyler - JAW Festival Co-producer

Brandon Woolley - JAW Festival  Co-producer

Benjamin Fainstein - JAW Literary Manager

Mary Blair - JAW Literary Associate

Don Kenneth Mason - JAW Festival Company Manager

accessibility info

PCS is committed to making our performances and facilities accessible to all of our patrons. Wheelchair seating, sound amplifying devices and large print programs are available for JAW. For more information, visit pcs.org/access.



JAW is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust: Oregonians sustaining, developing and participating in our arts, heritage and humanities. Additional support is provided by the Regional Arts & Culture Council/Work for Art and the Oregon Arts Commision.

Great Expectations
January 16 — February 14
January 30 — March 20
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