This spring, NWCT is partnering with World Stage Theater to presents Vanport the Musical! The show is part of the 7th Vanport Mosaic Festival, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the building of Miracle City. Shalanda Sims, the founder of World Stage Theatre and creator of Vanport the Musical will direct the show and NWCT’s Artistic Director Sarah Jane Hardy will co-direct.

About the show:

Shalanda Sims created Vanport the Musical out of a quest to find out more about how, when, and why Black people emigrated to the Portland area. She heard stories about Vanport, the lost community in the north part of the city destroyed by flood in 1948, and felt a deep sense of responsibility to the elders of Vanport (who were children back then) to take what was in her hand through theater and tell this story that had been erased and hidden. 

“To them, from stories I’ve heard, Vanport was like a dream,” says Sims. She goes on to say, “This show tells the story of Black people living and working in Vanport, but also the diversity of the community.

Black, Asian, Latine, Indigenous and other people lived together. What excites me is this is a story that hasn’t been shared this broadly before. Finding these pieces of history, making them come alive, and educating families and communities about something that people had no idea existed here in our hometown is exciting.” 

“There are a lot of themes in the play – equity, housing, employment or lack thereof – but most importantly family and community,” Sims says. “It’s really a celebration of life, community, and people who lived here before us, paving the way for the future.”

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