Shaking the Tree melds the boundaries of theatre and visual art by presenting audiences with unconventional theatrical experiences in our non-traditional warehouse space. Founded in 2003, Shaking the Tree uses innovative ways to inhabit space, and positions itself at the intersection of innovation, activism and groundbreaking theatricality to allow audiences to experience a deeper, more active connection to the work.
Shaking the Tree is committed to the work of dismantling racism and anti-blackness
Here is our growing list of commitments:
Immediate and ongoing anti-bias and anti-racist training for Shaking the Tree's staff and board, and the commitment to put it into practice daily.
50% racial equity, reflective in the board, staff and artists of Shaking the Tree.
free rentals to BIPOC members of the community.
Doing a vender audit- making sure that all the businesses we support are working towards anti-racism.
Give employees and freelance artists an opportunity to give feedback through an anonymous post show survey
BIPOC staff members involved in scheduling seasons.
How did the name Shaking the Tree originate?
Shaking the Tree's name comes from a mishmash of mythology and fairytale: The Bodhi Tree, The flowering Apple Tree, the Silver Pear Tree, but mostly the Golden Apple Tree from the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale, Mother Holly. In this tale the young heroin comes up to a tree laden with apples. The Tree says "Shake me. Shake me. We apples are all ripe." So she shakes the tree until the apples fall as though it were raining golden apples. When there are none left in the tree, she gathers them into a pile, and then continues on her way.
"I love this idea of the young heroin doing her soul work in the underworld of Mother Holly. The important and necessary work of imagining and creating." ~Samantha Van Der Merwe
Samantha Van Der Merwe (President) Scott Wiggers (Treasurer) Jessie Jonas (Secretary) Dorothy Davis Gokul Suryadevara Kerry Erdenberger Rebecca Harrison Belinda Green Pancho Savery
(Specific show reviews and interviews can be found on our archive pages)
"What makes Shaking the Tree one of the gutsiest production companies in the city is Van Der Merwe's ability to look straight at enshrined notions about what theater can or should be and tell them to go to hell." -Bennett Campbell Ferguson, Willamette Week
"Among Portland's best theatre companies, putting on a wonderful mix of classic and contemporary with an emphasis on the visual." ~DeAnn Welker, the Oregonian
We acknowledge that the land on which we sit, and which we occupy at Shaking the Tree Theatre rests on traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde including Molalla and Kalapuya, and many other tribes who made their homes along the Columbia River creating communities and summer encampments to harvest and use the plentiful natural resources of the area. We take this opportunity to thank the original caretakers of this land.