Think Globally, Perform Locally

Paige Barnes from the 2011 Northwest New Works at On the Boards, photo by Tim Summers.

On the Boards brings the cream of national and international cutting edge performance to King County, sometimes delighting, sometimes infuriating, and sometimes perplexing their audiences—but even more important, at least for the local arts ecosystem, are the opportunities On the Boards provides for local artists.

First, there’s 12 Minutes Max, a  forum for short pieces.  Presented eight times a year, 12 Minutes Max showcases fledgling performers taking their first steps in front of an audience, as well as veterans testing new ideas or previewing material that’s growing into a larger performance.

Northwest New Works is a festival of slightly longer works, all no more than 20 minutes, happening over a couple of weekends in late spring or early summer.  And finally, interspersed with their Inter/National programming, is the Northwest Series, evening-length works by artists such as zoe/juniper, whose lusciously produced A Crack in Everything featured fuzzy red threads stretching into the wings from dancers’ mouths and naked performers barking and growling at each other, as well as elegant choreography exploring the threshold of perception.

Upcoming Northwest performances feature musician Erin Jorgensen and choreographer Mark Haim, both from King County. The Northwest Series is curated by OtB Artistic Director Lane Czaplinski, but auditions for 12 Minutes Max happen four to eight weeks before each performance and applications for Northwest New Works are accepted in the fall of the year before each festival, making these forums accessible to newcomers.

To learn about audition dates and more, go to