Irvington neighbors Lawrence Howard and Lynne Duddy will open the 12th season of their acclaimed Portland Story Theater’s fall schedule in a new performance space, the Fremont Theater, opening this month in the Lyon’s Court building in the Alameda neighborhood.
David Shur and Johnny Keener are launching the 120-seat space at 2393 N.E. Fremont St., across the street from Lucca and Garden Fever and adjacent to Mars Wine Bar and Kitchen, primarily as a music venue. But, on the first Friday of every month – and a few other dates throughout the year – the Fremont will host Portland Story Theater’s unique brand of true, personal narrative.
October 7 will be the season opener for Portland Story Theater and is also slated to be the first event held in the Fremont Theater, with doors and music starting at 7 p.m. and stories at 8 p.m.
“For the last two seasons, we have been at a huge, cavernous theater, so we are really stoked to be moving back to a smaller, more intimate space,” said artistic director Duddy. “It was miraculous how it all came about. Lawrence and I used to drive past the building all the time and wonder what was going to move in. We met Johnny Keener, and then we met his partner, David Shur. It turns out that David went to college with our son, Scott, and played music with him in a band called DoDecca. What are the chances?”
“Performing at the Fremont will be a return to the wonderful sense of intimacy we used to have at the Hipbone Studio,” said co-founder Howard. “It was like a big living room and the teller was never more than twenty feet away from the farthest listener in the back row. The Fremont will feature a state-of-the-art sound system, comfortable seating, a full bar, a small menu, great acoustics and the perfect ambiance for our real, true stories. We liked both Johnny and David immediately, and they seemed eager to have their new venue be the home of Portland Story Theater, for the sense of community that it would bring to the neighborhood and the venture. A deal was struck, and here we are. We could not be more delighted about moving to this beautiful and intimate space.”
Howard and Duddy live nine blocks away from the Fremont and plan to walk from their house to the shows. They hope a lot of other local folks will, too.
“I’m a native Portlander who grew up on Northeast Cleveland in Albina,” said Duddy. “My love of Portland is only matched by my love of my family and my passion for the art of storytelling. Lawrence is from New York. At 22 he and a friend came out to the Beaver State in search of adventure. He never went back. We met, got married, and have made a life here in Portland for the last 35 years. He’s a real nature lover so the Pacific Northwest fits his character and spirit.”