About Peacock > Peacock History
The History of Peacock Productions, Inc.
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 Empress, Lady Elaine Peacock dreamed of producing a drag-style show in the Amphitheater of Portland's world famous Rose Gardens at Washington Park.
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.
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.
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. and gained 501(c)3 non-profit tax exemption status from the Internal Revenue Service, thereby making the Fund self-sufficient. A new board of directors was formed to ensure the continued success of the Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund.
While Peacock in the Park's popularity never waivered, 2004 marked the 18th and final Peacock in the Park. 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.
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 signature event was highly acclaimed in its debut and promises to be even more lavish in its sophomore year. Attendees at last year’s Peacock After Dark were thrilled by the level of talent and glamour brought to the stage by a widely diverse cast. This year's show (subtitled - performance. art. drag.) will once again feature the most elite entertainers in the Pacific Northwest and for the first time will showcase children of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community in a special production.
Today, the board of directors of Peacock Productions, Inc. consists of eleven dedicated members of the communities of Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington including retired school administrators, computer programmers, environmental specialists, medical administrators and banking professionals. All nine members of the board of directors are experienced community service volunteers for such organizations as the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court, The Imperial Sovereign Court of the Raintree Empire, Camp KC, Our House, Esther’s Pantry and Cascade AIDS Project.
As individuals, Peacock Production Inc. board members have been responsible for producing events including but not limited to the International LaFemme Magnifique Pageant at the Oregon Convention Center; The Amy & Freddy Cabaret Shows at the Melody Ballroom; The 50th Anniversary ISRC Coronation at the Portland Art Museum; All-City Cruises on the Portland Spirit; Saturday in the Park – Vancouver, Washington’s Pride; The First AME Zion Spring Musical; and the plays “Mommie Queerest”, “The Facts of Life” and "Silence of the Clams".
All “Peacock” events have come to mean so much more than fundraising for charity to the Board and the community. Maria and Kimberlee were close personal friends of Audria M. Edwards and all of our board members loved and admired Lady Elaine Peacock. While Lady Elaine Peacock and her mother Audria have been gone for 18 and 24 years respectively, they have lived on through Peacock in the Park and the Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund. Now, we have the opportunity to introduce their legacies to a whole new generation through Peacock After Dark which celebrates the original vision of Lady Elaine Peacock in a more fiscally responsible venue. Each year we are able to continue is a tribute to The Legend of the Rose, The Landmark Rose Empress, Lady Elaine Peacock and her loving, gay rights activist, education-advocate mother, Audria M. Edwards.