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OUR STORY


ArtsEmerson is Boston’s leading presenter of contemporary world theatre. We are dedicated to engaging all communities through stories that reveal and deepen our connection to each other. By cultivating diversity in the arts and in the audience, we ignite public conversation around our most vexing societal challenges as a catalyst for overcoming them.

Founded in 2010 by Robert J. Orchard—the year the U.S. Census confirmed there was no single cultural majority in Boston—we committed to building a cultural institution that reflects the diversity of our city. We program a full season of performances, film and dialogue that invites each of us to engage in a more contemporary narrative of Boston as a truly global city.

 

We believe in the power of art to ignite our vision of a thriving world.

 

 

A thriving world is one where all of its residents are seen and heard and life is better, richer and fuller for everyone. The foundation for this vision is empathy. Empathy is the fuel that will power a thriving world—a world connected across difference, where each of us sees and celebrates both that which is common to us and that which distinguishes us.

ArtsEmerson brings artists and audiences together to share experiences that spark this transformation at the personal, community and civic levels.

By “putting the world on stage”—with work that emanates from the language of theater, yet pushes the boundaries between theater, dance, music and multimedia arts—we aim to give voice to diverse stories and perspectives not often seen or heard in the traditional mainstream. By inviting the glorious cultural diversity of our region into our audiences, we create an environment where these shared experiences create opportunities for connection across our differences.
 

OUR MISSION

To engage all communities through stories that reveal and deepen our connection to each other. By cultivating diversity in the art and in the audience, we ignite public conversation around our most vexing societal challenges as a catalyst for overcoming them.
 

OUR VISION

A thriving world where art ignites empathy for ourselves and each other.  
 

OUR HISTORY

ArtsEmerson is the professional presenting and producing organization of the Office of the Arts at Emerson College. Founded in 2010 by Robert J. Orchard, the year the US Census confirmed there was no single cultural majority in Boston, we committed to building a cultural institution that reflects the diversity of our city. We operate from the core belief that the arts are for everyone. By “putting the world on stage” ArtsEmerson quickly established a reputation for presenting outstanding work from around the globe — work that emanates from the language of theater, yet pushes the boundaries between theater, dance, music, and media arts. And by bringing diverse programming to neighborhoods all over the city, we have become an integral part of Boston’s efforts to transform our bitter history of segregation into a resilient legacy of equity and unity in diversity. ArtsEmerson’s first seasons focused on building a world-class cultural institution, raising awareness of our existence, and forging a reputation for artistic excellence. ArtsEmerson was first named “Boston’s Best Theater” by Boston Magazine following its 2012/13 season.

By December of 2013, WBUR critic Ed Siegel cited ArtsEmerson in his annual “Best of” round-up, saying: “In four short years they have established ArtsEmerson as one of the most important cultural institutions in New England.” In 2013 we expanded our focus, through a variety of civic engagement activities, setting out to become an effective partner in our city’s efforts to promote social cohesion. When naming ArtsEmerson “Boston’s Best Theater” again in 2015, Boston Magazine wrote, “Most impressive, ArtsEmerson realizes its global vision while remaining audience-focused and community-centric.” ArtsEmerson is currently led by Artistic Director David Dower and Executive Director David C. Howse.