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.

We fulfill our mission by supporting artists from the Northwest and beyond through new commissions and existing work presented online and in person. We provide local artists, selected by Artistic Director Rachel Cook, with residencies that include rehearsal space, development support, project management, dramaturgical and curatorial feedback, and advocacy to create new and exciting projects. Our publishing platform, OntheBoards.tv, is a one-of-its-kind portal that features HD performance films and contextual educational material to deepen audiences’ understanding of the field of contemporary performance. 

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. When we can gather in person Studio Suppers and post-show events provide patrons with ample opportunities for socializing, and our creative partnerships with other arts leaders in Seattle nurture a more robust and connected creative community. Online contextual tools such as a curatorial journal, 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 flexible Studio Theater. Interested in renting space for a rehearsal, meeting, or performance?