Who We Are
Madison’s professional resident theater company at Overture Center
What We Do
We produce the best of contemporary theater with talented Wisconsin theater artists and deeply connect with our audiences and the community. Our seasons consist of four mainstage productions and a festival celebrating new work.
By The Numbers
Anticipated 2021-2022 attendance: 16,000+ (A combination of in-person and digital views). More than one-third of the audience typically stays for our lively talkbacks with the artists following each performance.
Our audiences are engaged, intellectually curious, involved in the community, and becoming younger and more diverse.
If you would like more information on becoming a corporate partner or if you are interested in knowing what your company's benefits are, please contact Sarah Milestone, Development Director, by phone at 608-234-5001 or by email at email@example.com.
Leading the Way
Forward Theater brings entertaining, thoughtful new plays to Madison. Since our founding, we’ve produced two world premieres, six regional premieres, and 18 Wisconsin premieres (many straight from their popular Broadway runs, including Fun Home and The Flick).
Post-show talkbacks are a signature of Forward Theater, and are held after every performance. This highly-popular tradition sets us apart from other theaters, and is a highlight of the Forward experience.
We continue to create. Throughout the pandemic, we remotely produced our season by embracing new technology and innovating our brand of storytelling. During the rehearsals for The Niceties (see above photo), although the audience only sees two actors during the final performance, twelve other artists were actively involved in creating this show, every step of the way. The result was an immersive drama presented in a virtual environment, despite the actors being 1,900 miles apart.
Creating Jobs for Wisconsin
Using local, professional theater artists – lots of them! And paying them all at least $15/hr. We’re dedicated to working with talented theater artists who live in Wisconsin, many of whom are becoming familiar faces to our Forward patrons.
In 2020-2021, despite the pandemic and our inability to perform live in the Playhouse, we forged ahead and created innovative online versions of each of our shows. In doing so, we stayed connected with our audiences and the community, and were able to honor all of our 142 artist contracts for the season.
Strengthening our EDI and Anti-Racism efforts
Since FTC’s founding, we have been deeply invested in being an equitable, diverse, and inclusive company. We are expanding that work to become actively Anti-Racist – inspired by a national moment of reckoning in our industry and the efforts of Black, Indigenous and other People of Color in the professional theater world who have shared their vision for a better future.
During the summer and fall of 2020, inspired by the calls for change from our colleagues across the country, we embarked on a rigorous process of internal assessment and planning. Our Board, Advisory Company, and Staff met in small working groups to prioritize action items and help Forward Theater allocate resources effectively. The resulting plan is a living document that outlines steps we’ve taken immediately, those we’ve committed to for 2021, and longer-term goals. Click HERE to read more.
Moving the Community Forward
Beyond the stage, each season we partner with other non-profit organizations to expand our productions' impact to the broader community. This season, our partners include The Cap Times Idea Fest (The Lifespan of a Fact), UW-Madison’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and The Odyssey Project (The Niceties), Arts+Lit Lab and Badgerland Girl Scouts (46 Plays for America's First Ladies). In concert with our primary role of presenting top-quality, relevant, and engaging productions, these efforts support a robust network of increasingly diverse artists, art, and audiences. This raises the quality of life in the greater Madison area, builds a more exciting organization for our patrons, and results in a stronger and healthier community for all.