After the Opera, What’s Next? 


What a summer! We’re still coming down from the thrill of producing The Poet’s Shadow, and if you’re anything like us, you’re still humming one of the catchy tunes from the show. Now that we’re moving into the fall, a lot of our friends have been asking us the same question: “What’s next for PHAME?”

We’re looking forward to a lot of great things on the horizon: exciting partnerships with organizations like Oregon Ballet Theatre and Portland Center Stage, our annual Winter Concert (news on that coming soon), and seeds are being planted for next summer’s production.

But the honest answer to the what’s next question is FALL TERM.

Fall Term begins on September 30. Our education program is truly the beating heart of PHAME, and we’re excited to dive into the new term. Everything you saw on stage at the Hampton Opera Center began in the classroom: the costumes, the iPad music, the art on the screens and the acting on the stage. Our classes are where our students develop their artistic skills and creativity, whether they’re singing in the Choir, finding the beat in Rhythm & Drumming, developing characters in Scene Study or learning to tell their story in PAL (that’s our self-advocacy class).

The skills that students develop at PHAME are focused in the arts, but they’re rooted in fundamental skills like teamwork, self-awareness, and striving for excellence. These skills equip PHAME students to thrive in all facets of their lives, including holding a job, building meaningful relationships, and setting and accomplishing goals. Our students come to PHAME from different backgrounds and with a wide range of life experiences, but they are unified in their desire to learn, ask questions, and take creative risks—together.

The Poet’s Shadow was a bright, shiny and public presentation of PHAME—of which we are immensely proud—but the day-to-day rigor of our education program is equally, if not more, impactful for our students. This fall, we’re offering 25 classes that include old favorites like Musical Theatre and Visual Art, as well as new technology-driven classes like Voice Acting and Videography. The new generation of adults with developmental disabilities are tech savvy and hungry for technology-based classes, and PHAME is hurrying to catch up. Listening to our students—and incorporating their feedback into our programming—is one of the ways we ensure that PHAME is led by the people it serves.

With more than two weeks left before the term begins, our program is already 90% full, with waitlists for multiple classes. PHAME is growing, and our future holds so many exciting possibilities of partnerships, collaborations, and new artistic ventures. But as we evolve and adjust to a changing world, our education program will remain at the center of everything we do.

Want to see our education program up close and personal? Join us for a tour this fall. We can’t wait to show you around.

Anya Roberts