Current Production

The Crackwalker

I want to reiterate my thanks for being exactly what I needed. Your brain and the actors you’ve trained created the ideal incubator for this play to emerge into life. I’m enormously grateful for all those hours of discussion, conversation, and work (that isn’t work because it’s so much fun).

Tania Myren

Talking about how the class has impacted his acting and the effect its had on his work in Portland Theater. Maybe even about the confidence it has given him to explore New York.

Caleb Sohigian

I found each class to be not only incredibly insightful to the individual actors performing, but to the whole class. I can’t imagine that I would have ever gotten this far in the film industry, this fast, if it had not been for the training and continued support and encouragement.

Kelly Lambert

Dan Hill’s class was a great spring board into the art of improvisation. He drew on techniques I had already established as an actor and artist and worked them into developing honest scenes from scratch. He introduced me to a host of approaches that allowed these scenes to develop and deepen. He encouraged working toward honest connection and imaginative truthfulness. He makes you see greater possibilities for improvisation.

Matt DiBiasio
Actor - In the Boom Boom Room, Good With People, True West

I have been drawn to the courage, originality and depth of SOWELU Dramatic’s creative process and artistic output. This is a company that is deeply committed to the discovery process, to asking questions but not necessarily finding answers, to telling stories that no one else dares to tell. I feel honored to invest in the work of such brave artists who explore with compassion the depths of the human soul while challenging the audience to go along on a dangerous ride in search of the truth. Who knows what might be revealed during such artistic explorations. By investing in SOWELU Dramatic, I feel like I am helping to finance a voyage of Discovery.

Ronni Lacroute
Audience, Donor

How can this happen on our watch?

Judith Thompson

The Sowelu Theater Ensemble helped shape me into the artist I am today. The wealth of experience I gained as an actor and member of the staff is invaluable.  I learned to collaborate in ways that were foreign to me but now have become a part of my regular vocabulary. The two years of Meisner training cemented the foundation of my acting technique and the outreach programs offered opportunities to develop curriculum and grow as a young teacher.  I loved my time as a Sowelu artist and still carry the principals of process, discovery and ensemble collaboration at the core of my work.  Thank you Sowelu.

Chris Harder
Former Company Member, Actor

When I first took a writing class from Sowelu Artistic Director Barry Hunt I was 16. He taught me how to access my own point of view and to express in writing the way I saw the world. In acting classes I was challenged to dig deeper, to let go of my preconceived ideas, and to trust my instincts. In rehearsals and on set, I am constantly using the tools I was taught to work with my cast. Most importantly, I was taught to find collaborators and trust in them. In short, nearly every aspect of my creative process has been informed in some way by what I learned.

Aaron Katz
Filmmaker - ISA John Cassavetes Award winner 2015 - Land Ho, Gemini

I had no confidence and I lacked technique. With no solid foundation to work from, the emotional chords within me remained a mystery. Barry Hunt introduced me to the Meisner Technique and through the use of repetition I was suddenly able to harness an incredible emotional life within me. At first, it was overwhelming but with practice I was able to grasp an understanding of my instrument. The Meisner technique offers a set of tools; a solid step-by-step approach for the actor to base his or her craft upon.

Karl Glusman
Actor - Nocturnal Animals, Love, Neon Demon, Stonewall

We are long time supporters of Sowelu Theater. Sowelu pulls us out of our Shakespeare, August Wilson, Sam Shepard comfort zone and shakes us up. Whatever the play, we know that the cast and crew will put together a professional and entertaining performance.

Rebecca Mowe
Audience Donor

I support Sowelu because of the rich, intimate performances they bring to the stage. The actors and artistic leadership of Sowelu are truly devoted and passionate about their craft. I’ve personally experienced performances that have pushed me out of my comfort zone, challenged my assumptions, and have made me feel alive!

Jennifer Schlobohm
Audience, Donor

I continue to work with Sowelu because the process dives deep, every single time.

Lorraine Bahr
Actor, Company Member

I return to work at Sowelu because I have unfinished business. Because there is a place deeper than the river of emotion on which everything exists and I can go there with Sowelu. There are things that are scary to say and Sowelu finds a way to say it.  There are things that are scary to hear and Sowelu asks you to listen and react as you see fit. I can trust my impulse and except that it will take me exactly where I need to be.

Michael Fetters
Actor, Former Company Member

The play takes a hard look at the “permanently unemployable” that fall through the cracks of social services. As a companion to the play, Sowelu is conducting interviews (available below) with Portlanders about their experiences in the IDD and homeless populations. We hope you will take a look at what your neighbors are experiencing and add your voice to the conversation.

About the Play

"Teresa is sexy, seductive, and mentally challenged. Worshipped by her boyfriend, she turns tricks at $5, is addicted to doughnuts, lies without thinking, and overflows with endless kindness, but she continues to hold on to her limitless innocence." Theresa and Alan survive on the goodwill of Sandy and her husban Joe, a relationship predicated on sexual violence and submission, fueled by alcohol and smokes. A homeless man, whom they call the Crackwalker, haunts their lives, an embodiment of social and personal failure and hopelessness. Despite all their failings, however, the characters retain a semblance of friendship and loyalty, and even the Crackwalker consoles Alan in his final isolation and despair.

The Crackwalker captures the unpretty realities of the ignored in our society. First produced thirty years ago, Thompson's striking portrayal of the discarded class continues to move audiences today.

The Artists

The Author

Judith Thompson

is one of Canada's most highly regarded playwrights. She has twice won the Governor General's Award for White Biting Dog (1984) and the anthology The Other Side of the Dark (1989); and the Chalmers Award for I am Yours(1987) and Lion in the Streets (1991).

She is particularly interested in the theories of Freud, and is more absorbed in the psychology of her characters than in their actions. All of her plays confront the horror and violence in modern society that is apparent to anyone who reads the newspapers or watches TV. She believes that everyone is capable of evil: there is within everyone "the other side of the dark." Many of her characters live precariously on the margins of society, threatening to disrupt the "normalcy" of a "civilized" society. They act irrationally, unpredictably, from strong feelings and fears.

The Director and Cast

   Director: Barry Hunt    Featuring: Lorraine Bahr

Guest Artists

      Ryan Downey         Liviya Burns         Anthony Green         Ken Baug

Some Reviews

"Judith Thompson has captured the corrosive imagery and exploding rhythms of life in the lower depths, where spiked heels are dangerous weapons and salvation is driving a cab. Thompson so clearly demonstrates an ability to expose the deepest roots of the theatrical experience… its language and humanity make the play a minor masterpiece." (Maclean's 2010-03-25)

"The Crackwalker's [characters] are mesmerizingly real. These people live with you." (Globe and Mail 2010-03-25)

Funded In Part By

Where and When




*Venue ADA accessible

4625 SE 67th Ave. Portland, OR 97206

September 8, 9, 10 and 14, 15, 16 at 7:30PM.



3520 SE Yamhill St, Portland. OR 97214

September 22, 23, 24 and 28, 29, 30 at 7:30PM.


Sliding scale $12-$25

Call 503-730-9066 for reservations

Check out these interviews with your neighbors and add your voice to the conversation!

4 April, 2018 0
Interview with Lobsang Tenzin about The Lower Rooms
Check out this great interview that followed a 9 out of 10 star review by...
25 February, 2018 0
5 star review from Flickering Myth
A 5 star review in The Flickering Myth. So pleased for Tania and the full...

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