After two years of providing the community with independent entertainment and an affordable arts space for artists on a budget, Lucid Stage is closing its doors on Baxter Boulevard. Lucid Stage hosted a unique events ranging from improv comedy festivals and dance troupes, to jazz bands and ventriloquists. They have always had an abundance of performers looking to book the stage, but the performance space has become too expensive to manage while still keeping costs low for performers and community members.
“We’ve never had to actively look for performers and the majority of the time we’ve been all booked up,” said Liz McMahon, director of Lucid Stage. “We’ve actually had to turn people away in a lot of situations because we didn’t have the available stage time.”
The stage is known for its affordable fees, community-friendly programs and comfortable, creative atmosphere. The goal of the company has always been to connect people with their creativity, not to generate profit. While relying on donations, grants, business sponsorships and ticket sales, Lucid has managed to keep afloat just long enough to make a mark on the Portland arts community.
“Aside from financial troubles, we’ve been successful in everything else. We’ve brought a lot of people together through all these different art forms, and that’s really what it was about, genuine human expression,” said McMahon.
Lucid Stage is considered to be a stepping stone in the arts community, offering a more open venue for new artists who cannot get involved in more established settings, such as Portland Stage Company. Lucid was open to performers of all experience levels and helped to train newcomers to the theater world.
“We’ve always had this ‘come as you are’ attitude,” said development director Erin Gurren. “It’s been a unique community for artists with little money, creativity and a lot of energy. It’s all about the energy that’s brought in.”
“There needs to be affordable venues like this for those who don’t have the money to compete with established shows. Everyone always talks about the abundance of artists in Portland, but there isn’t an abundance of art spaces available,” said McMahon.
But Lucid Stage isn’t calling it quits just yet. Although they have lost their residence, they will be actively searching for a new venue in the future. There is enough support from the community and enough dedicated staff members to continue this program and re-start somewhere down the road with this experience in their back pocket. They are optimistic for the future.
“We want to recreate this atmosphere elsewhere. It’s important to have this incubator for young and emerging artists,” said McMahon.