“The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, South Puget Sound’s largest performing arts facility, is committed to providing a wide variety of entertainment and cultural activities for the residents of five counties. Located in the heart of Washington State’s capital city, The Center has become a community gathering place, providing a focus for the performing arts unique to the region.
We present our own season of nationally and internationally touring artists from a broad spectrum of genres and styles. This year’s season line-up includes unforgettable events for every audience member and some of the highlights include: the iconic Rita Moreno in an evening of stories and song; the timely return of political satire ensemble The Capitol Steps; the 8 time Tony award winning musical Once; The Time Jumpers featuring Vince Gill Kenny Sears, Ranger Doug Green and Paul Franklin; Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera The Pirates of Penzance; master storyteller Garrison Keillor; and so much more!
Our real purpose, however, is to provide the support services needed by the many local performance groups who call The Center home;
Ballet Northwest, Casa Patas Foundation, Debbi’s Dance, Etc., Emerald City Music, Entertainment Explosion, Johansen Olympia Dance Center, Masterworks Choral Ensemble, Olympia Chamber Orchestra, Olympia Downtown Association, Olympia Junior Programs, Olympia Union Gospel Mission, Olympia Symphony Orchestra, Olympia Youth Chorus, The Rotary Clubs of Thurston County, Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia, South Puget Sound Community College, Studio West Dance Academy, and many more!
Opened in 1985, our facility has played host to thousands of events, with almost 2,000,000 people crossing our threshold. Our history did not start in 1985, however. The Washington Center is really the grandchild of the old Liberty Theater, a 1924 vaudeville house which stood on the same ground The Washington Center does today. The Liberty Theater was renovated and refurbished in 1948, becoming the Olympic Theater movie house. The Olympic was then taken down to just a few exterior walls in the early 1980s, and completely rebuilt as The Washington Center. While the building’s facade still retains elements of the 1924 architecture, the interior is contemporary and modern.
The Washington Center building is owned by the City of Olympia, and The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is a private, not-for-profit organization with a long-term contract to operate The Center. We are a real success story in public/private partnerships, with each party bringing its strengths to the table.”