Welcome to the 18/19 Season

Welcome by Betsey Brock

"We have so much to learn. The ideals that have shaped my entire life thus far have been called into question by the election of this so-called president. They are ideals worth fighting for: a faith, as Martin Luther King assured us, that the long arc of history bends toward justice; that societies have the desire and capacity for improvement; that reflection and communication will foster greater compassion; and a belief that one of the most powerful paths to progress is through art and literature. I have believed in the value of knowledge and of truth. And I have believed that the quality of a life is not measured by money, celebrity, or material goods but by richness of mind, generosity of spirit, and by meaningful human relationships.

"Along with these beliefs comes an endlessly renewed (and renewable) joy in the superfluous. By which I mean that the things which thrill and enchant, delight and inspire, move and hold us rarely fall into the category of the necessary. I’m not making light of the necessary—food, water, shelter, health, employment, companionship —without which we manifestly can’t survive. But what makes us human is our capacity for memory, for laughter, for passion, for grief, and for joy."

— Claire Messud, “The Time for Art Is Now”, Paris Review Daily, March 22, 2018


Welcome to On the Boards’ 2018–2019 Season. Think of it as a Roman candle, but instead of light and smoke, it is exploding with enchantment, delight, and inspiration. We are living in dark times, but the artists in this season are a reminder of what is human and what is possible.

Long before I worked at On the Boards, I was an avid subscriber. I came for the art, of course, but it was the lobby, and the people who gather there, that won my heart. In these uncertain and rapidly changing times, being part of a organization committed to welcoming people and celebrating their differences gives me hope. Our mission is to invest in leading contemporary performing artists near and far, and connect them to a diverse range of communities interested in forward-thinking art and ideas. We believe if we are successful in our work we can grow our field, enrich peoples’ lives, and contribute to civic and global dialogues.

We’ve been doing that work for 39 years now, and we get stronger, smarter, and more skilled all the time. We’re asking more questions of ourselves, our colleagues, our artists, and stakeholders than ever, and we’re better at listening to the answers. We know our contribution is important, and we want to be heard, and we want to hear from artists in our community and from our audiences.

I invite you to be part of a lively community of art-goers with our Subscription Series, get close to great art in its developmental stages with our Artists-in-Residence, dive deep into ideas with our new Lectures, and revel in special events that you absolutely will not experience anywhere else. Artistic Director Rachel Cook and the On the Boards curatorial team have made a season for our times. In this season we will find companionship and community—a necessity, entertainment, surprise, and illumination—“joy in the superfluous,” and the humanity of memory, laughter, and passion. 


Meet me in the lobby!


Betsey Brock
Executive Director

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