Our mission, since 1997

Liminal is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit ensemble of artists collaborating within the context of live performance to discover creative disciplines that are emerging at the threshold of of theatre, the fine arts, and multimedia technologies. Our goal is to expand public interaction with performance and engage in critical dialogues about contemporary culture through an ongoing evolution of new work.

Our projects evolve over many stages of creation and refinement. Our performers maintain extensive physical rehearsals and workshops, while our visual artists, designers and technicians go beneath the surface of their mediums to find underdeveloped uses of their tools.

Over the years, Liminal has evolved from an upstart ensemble (that shared a tiny industrial space with a cheesecake company), to a broadly connected community of artists who have made Portland their home, and who have created some of the Pacific Northwest's most memorable theatre. Our projects have received extensive support from many supporters, foundations, and sponsors. We have also had the pleasure to be honored with praise and awards from Portland drama critics. Dozens of features, articles, and reviews have been produced in print, radio, and television about our work. And we are very grateful.


Founders (and honorary founders): John Berendzen, Amanda Boekelheide, Moses Gunesch, Georgia Luce, Jeff Marchant, Bryan Markovitz, Trent Moore, Jennifer Olson, Alex Reagan, Madeleine Sanford, Christophe Saxe, Rich Southwick.

Close Associates: David Abel, Jenny Ampersand, Camille Cettina, Jacob Thomas Coleman, Leo Daedalus, Filemon Gemil, Leslie Goodwin, kollodi, Gabriel Liston, Frank Marroquin, Linda Miles, Ammon Morris, Chris Piuma, Ben Purdy, Kate Sanderson.

Really Important Friends and Collaborators: Stephen Alexander, Linda Austin, Jim Blashfield, Hallie Blashfield, Julie Burtis, Catherine Egan, Lee Howard, Steve Kratowicz, Jeff Forbes, Lyndee Mah, Luis Moreno, Michael Stirling, Doug Theriault, and many, many others.

Some background and history

Liminal grew in the mid 1990’s out of a collective desire among theatre students attending Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, to explore uncharted territories of performance, music and other forms of art. After relocating to Portland, the ensemble’s founders joined with other founding company members to develop and perform their first production, Suicide in B-flat.

Liminal spaces

Over the years, Liminal has presented performances and installations in many unusual spaces. Moreover, our projects respond to the specificity of space. It is a unique part of the live experience. Of course, we have seen our share of warehouses, galleries, black boxes and theaters, but our favorite spaces include a turn-of-the-century Oddfellows ballroom, the parking garage of Michael Graves’ Portland Building, the now-defunct queer dance club Panorama, the top floor of Portland’s Dekum Building and a chinese restaurant.

"Liminal," what a funny word

Back in the mid-1990s, co-founder and long-time director Bryan Markovitz was a big fan of Victor Turner's use of "liminality" in the book From Ritual to Theatre, which several of us read in college together. Performance Studies was a burgeoning discipline at the time, and we had some great professors who introduced us to the world of performance beyond the theatre. As an anthropologist and ethnographer, Turner was interested in how symbolic aspects of life often created transitional places and experiences. The word “liminal” comes from the Latin, “limen” which means “at the threshold” or “the betwixt and between.” True to the term, our idea of a Liminal performance presents people, places and events that are in a state of transformation, where they are not quite one thing, and not quite another.