Tacoma Arts Live

This page is a profile of the theatre company. Venue profiles forthcoming.


Youth Conservatory production of ‘Fame Jr.’ from Tacoma Arts Live. Photo by Lisa Monet.


Tacoma Arts Live energizes South Sound communities through live performance.

Founded: 1979

Website: www.tacomaartslive.org

Primary venues: Pantages Theater, Rialto Theater, Theater on the Square 


The below information is provided by the theatre company. (All material is condensed & edited for clarity.)


Overview: Mission / Vision  

Tacoma Arts Live believes in the power of bringing people together – physically in a theater, intellectually through ideas, and emotionally through sharing great stories. Attending live theater reminds us to be open to feel, to learn, and to appreciate humanity.

Mission: Energize Community Through Live Performance.

Vision: A South Sound Community That Honors All Cultures and Enjoys Shared Prosperity.


Key Initiatives 

Tacoma Arts Live (formerly called Broadway Center for the Performing Arts) is a non-profit organization recognized for leadership in presenting world-class performing artists, providing one of the largest arts education programs in Washington State, and preserving and activating Tacoma’s historic theaters. It is committed to using the performing arts as a platform to build a more resilient, dynamic and connected community.

Season lineups for presented events are selected using responses from patron surveys, social media polls, community conversations, and other means. Professional Regional Theater seasons are selected by Executive Director David Fischer’s discussions with the Theater Cohorts (a group of about 30 individuals who are deeply rooted in performing arts in the South Sound) and Theater Angel Members, who all read and review playwrights to make the decision on the season’s events.

In addition to its performance season, Tacoma Arts Live drives the restoration and revitalization of Tacoma’s historic theatres. Most recently, the Pantages Theater saw $9 million of renovations, including an interior face lift, new seats, seismic improvements, a restored center aisle, new production equipment, and more. It reopened in November 2018.

Tacoma Arts Live also engages the community with one of the state’s largest arts education programs; special exhibitions (such as the Sistine Chapel Exhibit in 2018); special events, such as the annual gala; and a young professionals engagement program, coming soon.

The organization works with local and national companies, including Live Nation, KNKX Radio, Rainbow Center, Philanthropy Northwest, and resident arts organizations.



The organization has served as the performing arts anchor of the South Sound since 1979. In November of 2018, Broadway Center changed its name to “Tacoma Arts Live” in an effort to reflect the breadth of the organization’s work and the impact that its services have on the community. (Read more about the changes here.) At that time, Tacoma Arts Live also debuted the first year of its Professional Regional Theatre productions.

This season, Tacoma Arts Live will present over 40 shows that include a variety of live entertainment genres including concerts, comedy, family, films, musicals, and theater. Performances include concerts by India.Arie, Carlene Carter, Naturally 7; and Take Me to the River – New Orleans; Festival Latinx; a touring production of Rent; and several Christmas-themed shows.

The 2019-20 season of Professional Regional Theater seeks to produce great plays with a conscience, engage empathy, challenge complacency, and inspire audiences to live in thoughtful inquiry. Season lineup:

Shakespeare in Love, October 17-November 3

Oleanna, February 6-23

Tribes, March 26-April 11

Cowboy vs. Samurai, June 4-21


Statement of centering underrepresented voices & stories 

Does your company center underrepresented voices and stories in the work your company puts on? If so, how?

Yes, through various means. Tacoma Arts Live’s Professional Regional Theater is intended to produce great plays with a conscience, engage empathy, challenge complacency, and inspire audiences to life in thoughtful inquiry. Through both subject matter and individual artists, the organization strives to represent the diversity in our community.

As one of the largest arts education programs in Washington State, Tacoma Arts Live serves nearly 55,000 students, parents, and teachers each year. Through programs like the Civil Rights Legacy Tour and Education Matinees for grade school students, Tacoma Arts Live’s education programs are dedicated to accessibility and representation. Along with the presented education events, the organization also hosts education classes and programs all over Pierce County, including in-school and after-school programs and on-campus conservatory classes. Participation in youth education classes is supported by scholarship funds, and the organization is committed to its promise that no student will ever be turned away from classes and programs due to financial need.

Does your company center underrepresented voices in your decision-making processes? If so, how?

All are encouraged to participate in Tacoma Arts Live’s community-wide surveys and data collection


Statement of financial accessibility 

Tacoma Arts Live is proactive in this work, including building partnerships with regional non-profit service agencies such as United Way, YWCA, and Tacoma Housing Authority, to ensure that free & reduced price tickets are distributed and utilized by community members who are traditionally underserved.

In addition, Tacoma Arts Live maintains the following practices:

Distribution of free tickets to individuals whose income does not otherwise allow for their attendance. In 2017-18, Tacoma Arts Live distributed more than $225,000 in free tickets.

All Tacoma Arts Live presented events and ticket prices are driven by fees paid directly to the artist. However, price tiers allow for affordable ranges, usually starting at $20 per ticket. For Professional Regional Theater productions, Tacoma Arts Live offers inexpensive tickets to the preview night (the first Thursday of each run), at $12 each.

The organization also participates in TeenTix, and various shows throughout the season are available at deep discounts to teens through that program. 


NWT notes 

If an artist you love is touring to a Tacoma Arts Live theatre, it’s a must-see. Unlike Tacoma’s other main venues, and some major venues in Seattle and elsewhere, these historic stages are beautiful and intimate. In-house theatre productions are a new addition, and worth a look.