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World Premiere The Essex, 2015 installment of the Armchair Adventurer Series

Visit Lawrence Howard's website Lawrence Howard, Creator of the Armchair Adventurer Series

Produced by Portland Story Theater,
The Pacific Northwest's Premier Storytelling Organization.


All PdxStoryTheater shows at Alberta Abbey
126 NE Alberta Street with Free Parking and
Wheelchair Accessibility
Map and Driving Directions

The Essex
Created and Told by Lawrence Howard
January 23 and 24, 2015 | 8:00PM | Alberta Abbey

World Premiere Project, Fertile Ground Festival

The Essex is the true story of a Nantucket whaling ship that was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in 1820, leaving 20 men in three small boats with very little food or water. Reaching the coast of South America 93 days later, only eight sailors survived the ordeal of thirst, starvation and despair. This is the true story that became the inspiration for Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Meticulously researched and historically accurate, The Essex is the fifth installment in Portland Story Theater's acclaimed Armchair Adventurer series, created and performed by Lawrence Howard and directed by Lynne Duddy.

A captivating performer, Howard holds his audiences spellbound and has been called "a master of non-fiction on the stage."

This program is appropriate for young adults age 14+ if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

2014 Marks the 100th Anniversary of Shackleton's 1914 Voyage of The Endurance and Trans-Antarctic Expedition

Buy the CD, Shackleton's Antarctic Nightmare: The 1914 Voyage of The Endurance Read the Review of Shackleton
Bob Hicks, Oregon Arts Watch © 2012

The next show is a special send-off for Lawrence Howard as he journeys to Ireland to meet Shackleton's granddaughter, see Shackleton's birth place, and visit the Athy Heritage Centre-Museum.

October 18, 2014 | 8:00PM | Alberta Abbey
This program is appropriate for young adults age 14+

Lawrence Howard launched the Armchair Adventurer series in 2008, mesmerizing audiences with his original epic tale of Antarctic adventure. Audiences demanded more, and it returned in 2009, 2012 and again in 2014 at Portland Story Theater.

Shackleton's Antarctic Nightmare: The 1914 Voyage of The Endurance is the gripping, heart-breaking, true story of British explorer, Ernest Shackleton, and the Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914. Shackleton's dream of being the first to cross the Antarctic continent on foot became a nightmare when his valiant ship, the Endurance, was crushed in the pack-ice of the Weddell Sea. The story of how he and the twenty-seven men of the expedition survived on the ice and eventually came to safety is an epic tale of hardship and suffering, of courage, determination and fortitude.

Polar Opposites:
Amundsen, Scott, and the Race For The Pole

Amundsen and Scott

Polar Opposites: Amundsen, Scott, and the Race For The Pole recounts heroic and tragic events in Antarctica one hundred years ago. Scott and his four companions fought their way to the Pole only to find the Norwegian flag flying there: Amundsen had beaten him by five weeks. Crushed by disappointment, utterly exhausted and short on food and fuel, Scott and his companions froze and starved to death on the return journey, just eleven miles from a huge cache of provisions and supplies. This a tale of the agony and the ecstasy, of accomplishment and failure, of a glorious victory overshadowed by an even more glorious defeat.

Mawson's Mettle:
Alone On The Wide Shores Of The World.

Buy the CD, Mawson's Mettle: Alone On The Wide Shores Of The World Read the Review of Mawson's Mettle

Mawson's Mettle is another true, epic tale of Antarctic adventure written and told by Lawrence Howard. Part of Portland's annual Fertile Ground Festival, this world-premiere is about Douglas Mawson, a veteran of one of Shackleton's earlier voyages, who led an Australian expedition to the frozen continent in 1911.

Out sledging with two other men, Mawson was thrown into peril when one of the sledges -- along with the six best dogs, most of the food and equipment, and one of his companions -- was lost in a deep crevasse. After his second companion and the rest of the dogs died, Mawson struggled against freezing temperatures, 80 mile-per-hour winds, loneliness, grief, illness and starvation, pulling his one remaining sled for hundreds of miles.

Mawson's Mettle is an epic story of survival and determination and courage to rival the Shackleton saga. Lawrence Howard gives another mesmerizing performance that will move you to the depths of your soul.

Listen to an Interview with Dmae Roberts, KBOO Stage and Studio

John "Babbacombe" Lee
The Man They Could Not Hang

In January, 2013, Portland Story Theater's acclaimed Armchair Adventurer series took a sharp detour from Antarctica to present John "Babbacombe" Lee, the true story of "the man they could not hang." Lawrence Howard, Storyteller Lawrence Howard, creator of the Armchair Adventurer Series, brought his latest true, historical story to the stage, the world premiere of John "Babbacombe" Lee. The time is November, 1884. The place is the sleepy village of Babbacombe, on the Devonshire coast of England. An elderly spinster is brutally murdered and her body set on fire. Suspicion falls upon her manservant, John Lee. A three-ring circus of a trial ensues. Lee is convicted on circumstantial evidence and sentenced to be hanged, but on the day of the execution the trap doors of the gallows fail to open not once, not twice, but three times. Was it mechanical failure or divine intervention? Was Lee really innocent, as he claimed? And if he didn't do it, who did??

Portland Story Theater 2004-2015