Peacock Productions, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit corporation. Its primary purpose is to promote the education of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community and to eliminate prejudice against that community.
Peacock in the Park was founded in 1987 by local entrepreneur and drag entertainer, Lady Elaine Peacock, Rose Empress XXIX of Oregon’s oldest non-profit GLBT organization; the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court (ISRC).
While Reigning as Rose Empress, Lady Elaine Peacock dreamed of producing a drag-style show in the Amphitheater of Portland’s world famous Rose Gardens at Washington Park.
Peacock and the Roses
Lady Elaine Peacock checked with the local news/radio station KGW to establish the best day for the event as far as weather was concerned. KGW informed her that the last Sunday in June was historically the driest day of the year. Lady Elaine Peacock and her lover Ray Southwick purchased a $5.00 permit from the Portland Parks and Recreation Bureau and the first Peacock and the Roses Show was planned and executed on the last Sunday in June 1987.
The crowd was thin but very energetic. Hundreds of people showed up to see the elegant Lady Elaine Peacock strut her stuff in the Park. Peacock was also joined by her Mother; Audria M. Edwards, Sister; Misty Waters and many other family members that day. The show began at 7:00pm and went until darkness fell and the performers were no longer visible. There were no sets, no food booths, no T-shirts or posters. Just a bunch of friends gathered together to witness history in the making.
In the fall of 1987, Audria M. Edwards passed away. A devoted mother of six (four of whom were GLBT), Audria was a gay rights activist and the second president of the Portland Chapter of Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-Flag). The following spring, Lady Elaine Peacock, Misty Waters, Rosey Waters and Ray Southwick established the Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund in tribute to Audria’s passion for continued education. It was then that the decision was made to change Peacock and the Roses to Peacock in the Park and make it an annual fund-raiser for the newly created Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund. The first scholarship was awarded in 1989 before a crowd of several hundred friends and family at Peacock in the Park.
Peacock in the Park Grows in Popularity
In the years that followed, Peacock in the Park became the place to be each summer. Audience members numbered in the thousands and the show featured a full set and a huge cast of talented performers.
The show was moved to 2:30pm to accommodate the many performers and prevent darkness from stopping the show. Hot dogs, sno-cones, soda pop, chips, bottled water and T-shirts were all for sale to raise money for the Scholarship Fund.
In 1992, Lady Elaine Peacock turned administration of the Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund over to the newly formed Equity Foundation to ensure its security. Equity Foundation managed the Fund but did not assist in the production of Peacock in the Park. For many years, production costs came directly from show coordinators, friends and family.
Maria Peters Lake & Kimberlee Van Patten Become New Custodians of Lady Elaine Peacock’s Legacy & Scholarship
Sadly, in 1993, both Lady Elaine Peacock and Misty Waters passed away. It was Peacock’s wish that the show continue and that Rose Empress XXXVI Maria and her partner Kimberlee Van Patten become the new Scholarship Fund administrators and Peacock in the Park Show coordinators.
As hostess of the show, Maria did an incredible job of carrying on the spirit and enthusiasm of the late Lady Elaine Peacock. Maria and Kimberlee asked, Poison Waters to continue her role as Mistress of Ceremonies and for the next 11 years she and Maria entertained and captivated the maximum capacity crowds and more and more money was raised for the Scholarship Fund.
In 1999, Maria and Kimberlee formed Peacock Productions, Inc., gained 501(c)3 non-profit tax exempt status from the IRS, and assumed administration of the Fund from Equity Foundation. The Peacock board of directors was formed (Maria, Kimberlee, Kevin Cook, Willie Tucker, and Eric Golding) to ensure the continued success of all things “Peacock,” and The Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund became self-sufficient.
Peacock in the Park Takes a Final Bow
Over the years, Peacock in the Park became known as Portland’s Favorite Summertime Variety Show, drawing record crowds and receiving several Community Awards of Excellence. However, although Peacock in the Park’s popularity never wavered, 2004 marked the 18th and final Peacock in the Park show. Due to skyrocketing costs and a sagging economy, Peacock Productions chose to discontinue utilizing Peacock in the Park as a fundraising event. The Peacock in the Park Finale featured a pre-show concert by the world famous Pink Martini and special performances by Michael Allen Harrison, Darcelle XV & Company and many, many more.
Peacock After Dark
For the next few years, Peacock Productions, Inc. continued to award scholarship grants and search for opportunities to create new fundraising, education and outreach events including the annual “All-Ages Show”, “Medieval Feast”, and “Soul Food & Gospel Show” as well as many one-time fundraisers such as “Cowboys & Kisses” and “Dining for Diplomas.”
In 2008 Peacock After Dark premiered at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts; Newmark Theatre. This theatrical endeavor was highly acclaimed throughout its six year run. Attendees of the annual Peacock After Dark were thrilled by the level of talent and glamour brought to the stage by a widely diverse cast hosted by Poison Waters and Maria Peters Lake. Body Vox, The Classical Ballet Academy, Burlesquire, Michelle Craig, Adrienne Alexander, Cicely, Monica Boulevard and Patti O’Dora are just a few of the wonderful acts to light-up the stage at Peacock After Dark.
The Return of Peacock in the Park!
Despite the critical acclaim of Peacock After Dark, it never realized its full potential and in 2013, the final curtain came down. For nearly 10 years, the community had been begging for the return of Peacock in the Park and it was decided to give them what they wanted.
During the final bows at the 6th Annual Peacock After Dark, Peacock Productions, Inc. revealed a 30-second video announcement of the return of Peacock in the Park. The audience exploded into thunderous applause, whistles, hoops and hollers!! They were thrilled and they let us know in a big way. Peacock was finally going back to where it all began.