History & Building
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 Open Studio, 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 post-show events 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 blog, artist interviews, essays and reviews enable better understanding and discussion of the work we present while Q&A sessions and master classes provide direct access to artists.
OtB moved into its current space, the Behnke Center for Contemporary Performance, in 1998 in Seattle's lower Queen Anne neighborhood in the historic Queen Anne Hall. We currently present more than 40 shows over 100 performance nights each year in two theaters: our 300-seat Merrill Wright Theater and our intimate 84-seat Studio Theater. Please note: We do not rent out our theater spaces.