19/20 Season Announcement

The 19/20 Season: 
In the Future's Wake: Rituals, Ceremonies, and Happenings

The mesmerizing dystopic fantasies of Ligia Lewis.
Four brand new works by local favorites Markeith Wiley, Timothy White Eagle, Ahamefule J. Oluo, and Pat Graney. 
Another spectacular explosion of color and celebration with Taylor Mac.
And so much more.

Our 40th anniversary season brings together contemporary performances that probe the uncertainties of our collective present, even as they invite us to envision possible tomorrows. 

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Single tickets on sale August 2019.

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The 19/20 Season Overview: In the Future's Wake: Rituals, Ceremonies, and Happenings
Curatorial Statement from Artistic Director Rachel Cook
19/20 Season Partners
Subscribe to the 19/20 Season


The 19/20 Season: In the Future's Wake: Rituals, Ceremonies, and Happenings

Aug 1–4 Morgan Thorson: Still Life 
This is an off-site performance presented in partnership with Base: Experimental Arts & Space

Base and On the Boards co-present Minneapolis-based choreographer Morgan Thorson’s durational choreographic installation Still Life. Created for a white-walled gallery space, Thorson’s performance features a cast of stellar dancers from Seattle, Portland, and Minneapolis. Still Life is structured as a cyclical five-hour dance that explores what it means to kill choreography by erasing material with each repetition of the work. 

NOTE: Tickets for this performance are not included in the 19/20 subscription series.

Sept 19–22 Ligia Lewis: Water Will (in Melody) 

Melodrama is a point of departure for Ligia Lewis’s latest choreographic work, Water Will (in Melody). A gothic tale set in a cavernous landscape morphs into a dystopian fantasy, enacted by four performers. Creative (im)possibility becomes the engine by which a state of hopelessness, darkness, and unexamined emotions are explored. This is the last part of Lewis’s triptych, which began with Sorrow Swag in blue, succeeded by minor matter in red.

Presented in partnership with PICA, Red Cat, and Performance Space NY.

Oct 9 Bryce Dessner: Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)
Presented in partnership with Seattle Theatre Group at the Moore Theatre

Composer Bryce Dessner, librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle, director Kaneza Schaal, and designer Carlos Soto, in collaboration with Roomful of Teeth and a live chamber orchestra, seek to capture the complex effects of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s works. Through music, Mapplethorpe’s images, and poetry by Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith, this work examines how humans look, touch, feel, hurt, and love one another. 

Oct 10–13 Autumn Knight: M_ _ _ ER
Commissioned by On the Boards

Interdisciplinary artist Autumn Knight presents the West Coast premiere of her latest performance project, M _ _ _ ER. Her work employs visual mapping, character improvisation, social engagement, visual art, and takes on a broad range of subjects including interiority, dissonance, ritual, and humor.

Autumn Knight: M_ _ _ ER is a National Performance Network/Visual Artist Network (NPN/VAN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by DiverseWorks, On the Boards; Seattle, and Women & Their Work; Austin. 
M _ _ _ ER premiered at DiverseWorks in October 2018 and will be presented at Abroms Art Center in May 2020.

Dec 5–8 Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan 
Commissioned by On the Boards through our 18/19 Artist-in-Residence ProgamFIND OUT MORE

Susan is an intimate performance about Oluo’s mother. Oluo utilizes theatrical techniques from standup to storytelling, and the work includes a large-scale composition for an orchestra. This darkly comedic stage musical explores two intertwining narratives: Oluo’s mother’s life as the white, Midwestern wife of a Nigerian chief and, later, a single mother; and his journey to Nigeria, as an adult, to visit his late father’s village and immerse himself in his heritage for the first time. This multimedia work is an examination of love, loss, race, bodies, resilience, failure, and the limitless, sometimes contradictory, facets of one human being.

Dec 19–20 Taylor Mac: Holiday Sauce 
Presented in partnership Seattle Theatre Group at the Moore Theatre

2017 MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist Taylor Mac takes on the holidays to celebrate the season in all of its dysfunction. For this new production, Taylor Mac is joined by longtime collaborators, designer Machine Dazzle, music director Matt Ray, and a spectacular band to reframe the songs you love and the holidays you hate.

Jan 23–26 Jaha Koo: Cuckoo

A journey through the last 20 years of Korean history told by a bunch of talkative rice cookers. In Cuckoo, South-Korean artist Jaha Koo gives a touching insight into the tragedy of a lonely life in a thoroughly technologized society–all through a sequence of dialogues between Koo and three rice cookers. Koo is a theatre/performance maker and music composer, whose artistic practice oscillates between multimedia and performance.

Presented in partnership with Under the Radar Festival, NYC; PuSH Festival, Vancouver; and International Festival of Performance and Ideas, Toronto.

Feb 20–23 Solo: A Festival of Dance

Now in its second year, Solo: A Festival of Dance celebrates the breadth and multiplicity of the solo in dance. Artists to be announced Fall 2019.

Mar 19–22 Timothy White Eagle: The Violet Symphony
Commissioned by On the Boards through our 18/19 Artist-in-Residence ProgamFIND OUT MORE

Timothy White Eagle’s creative process stems from Indigenous circles as a form of intuitive healing work through transformational rituals. His art practice and spiritual practice are woven together. Commissioned by On the Boards, The Violet Symphony stems from an impulse to create a story about a personal connection to addiction and addicts.

Apr 9­–12 Markeith Wiley: Working (Undecided Title) 
Commissioned by On the Boards through our 18/19 Artist-in-Residence ProgamFIND OUT MORE

Working (Undecided Title) or W(UT) is a lyric poem that takes place inside a dance party, a series of happenings based on the themes of resistance and resilience. It asks all involved to make decisions and be in the present moment. W(UT) will create an abstract community that closes the gap between thinker and doer, giver and receiver, producer and consumer, Me and You and You and You, audience and artist, revealing how we are all performers.

May 7–10 Tina Satter/Half Straddle: Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription

Tina Satter’s performance company Half Straddle takes on a true story, still unfolding. On June 3, 2017, Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old former Air Force linguist, was surprised at her home by the FBI, interrogated, and then charged with leaking evidence of Russian interference in the U.S. voting system one week before the 2016 Presidential election. She’s in jail now. Is This A Room stages the verbatim FBI transcript of what happened at Reality's house that day. Is This A Room hits at the center of an imperative discourse about what it means to have honor in today’s America.

Jun 4–7 Pat Graney: ATTIC
Commissioned by On the Boards through our 18/19 Artist-in-Residence ProgamFIND OUT MORE

ATTIC is the third and final part of Seattle-based choreographer Pat Graney’s House of Mind Trilogy. ATTIC investigates rape culture. The sexual assault of young women and their often-downward spiral into destruction and suicide threads throughout the work.


Curatorial Statement

19/20 Season: In the Future's Wake: Rituals, Ceremonies, and Happenings

In the Future’s Wake: Rituals, Ceremonies, and Happenings brings together artists who are thinking about the necessary rituals, ceremonies, movements, and performance happenings that we collectively need for our future. In the present we are experiencing loss, trauma, frustration, and lack of belief in the stability of our government, systems of power, and of authoritative voices. This season is one of creating propositions, posing a series of questions, and making transparent investigations that rupture our emotional and physical thresholds within the ephemeral nature in our work.   

The season title is taken from Christina Sharpe’s book, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, published in 2016. Sharpe thinks about “the wake” as “a problem for thought,” and describes In the Wake as “a work that insists and performs that thinking needs care and that thinking and care need to stay in the wake.” This year’s curatorial team read portions of the book while thinking about the artists who will be included in this season, many of whom are considering recent loss, death, and processes of recovery in the face of tragedy.

—Rachel Cook, Artistic Director


Our local partners this season include Base, Seattle Theatre Group (STG), and the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas. National and international partners include International Festival of Performance and Ideas, Toronto; Performance Space New York; Portland Institute for Contemporary Art; PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Vancouver; REDCAT, Los Angeles; and Under the Radar Festival, NYC.   

Note: Performances are subject to change. 

On the Boards presents its 36th NW New Works Festival June 12-16, 2019. This year the festival highlights works exploring and responding to the myriad upheavals currently affecting the PNW. GET TICKETS

Two special benefit performances with legendary trans-genre artist Mx Justin Vivian Bond: Summer Solstice Benefit Cabaret (Jun 20) and House of Whimsy (Jun 21)

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