History & Mission

Founded by artists in 1978, the mission of On the Boards (OtB) is to introduce audiences to international innovators in contemporary dance, theater and music while developing and presenting new work by Northwest performing artists.

As one of the leading organizations of our size and focus in the United States, OtB produces unique performance projects by leading artists and creates one-of-a-kind experiences for our audiences. We make significant investments in the performing arts community to help increase the quality of new work created. We contribute to the vitality of arts and culture in our region by helping launch and continue the careers of some of its most promising artists while growing audiences for experimental performance.

Since its inception, OtB has featured seminal performances by artists including Laurie Anderson, Bill T. Jones, The Wooster Group, Spalding Gray, Dumb Type, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Sankai Juku,  Gisèle Vienne, Bruno Beltrão, chelfitsch, Romeo Castellucci, John Jasperse, Jan Fabre, Back to Back Theatre, Faustin Linyekula, Mark Morris, Pat Graney, Dayna Hanson, Amy O’Neal, Reggie Watts, Zoe Scofield & Juniper Shuey, and Crystal Pite.

Our primary activities include: an annual performance season, featuring new projects by the most innovative performing artists from the Northwest and from around the world; the Performance Production Program, providing select artists with technical residencies, free rehearsal space, development support, project management, dramaturgical feedback, and advocacy; Northwest Artist Programs, currently including the NW New Works Festival of performance works-in-progress and 12 Minutes Max, a showcase of local short and in-progress works; and OntheBoards.tv, a first-of-its-kind online platform that features HD contemporary performance films available to global audiences and universities.

We offer a range of resources and events that provide in-depth information and complimentary social experiences to frame the art on our stages and create dynamic access for our audiences. Our Studio Suppers and Stompy’s Salons provide patrons with ample opportunities for socializing, and the Ambassador Project, creates dialogue between individuals from creative industry and the arts while it reaches communities across King County. Online contextual tools such as an interactive audience blogartist interviewsessays and reviews enable better understanding and discussion of the work we present while Q&A sessions and master classes provide direct access to artists. 

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READ ALL ABOUT: Amy O'Neal, Tere O'Connor, Ahamefule Oluo, Frank Boyd, Kyle Abraham, Gob Squad AND MORE!

Sep 6 | OtB's SEASON KICKOFF! Big-screen blockbuster filmed on-location one hour before showtime.