Performance Works NW



Performance Works NorthWest || Linda Austin Dance engages artists and audiences of the Pacific Northwest in the process of experimentation, creation and dialog around the presentation of contemporary performance. As an artist-focused incubator for new time-based work, we nurture local artistry while linking Portland audiences and artists to regional, national and international artists whose work challenges and inspires.


Based in its S.E. Portland home since 2000, PWNW was founded in 1999 by Artistic Director Linda Austin and Technical Director Jeff Forbes. Their extensive relationships with performers and other artist-run spaces around the country combine with a ceaseless spirit of inquiry to provide rich and compelling programming for Northwest audiences. Supporting the untamed desires of artists is their passion; sharing that passion creates connections and community.

Choreographer and performer Linda Austin returned to her native Oregon in 1998 after 20 years in New York City, where her work was supported by Movement Research, Danspace Project, P.S. 122 and the Kitchen. She has since been presented by PICA’s TBA Festival, NW New Works at Seattle’s On the Boards,  and Ten Tiny Dances. Awards include the 2017 Foundation for the Arts Merce Cunningham Award, Fellowships from the Regional Arts & Culture Council (2014), the New York Foundation for the Arts (1992), and the Oregon Arts Commission, plus residencies at Djerassi Resident Artists Program (Bessie Schönberg Memorial Endowed Fellowship) and Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center.

A ten-time winner of the Willie and Drammy Awards for theatre, Jeff Forbes has worked as a lighting designer and technical director since 1981. He designs for a wide range of theatre and dance companies including Ate9 dANCe cOMPANY, Imago Theatre, Linda Austin Dance, and the NW Dance Project; and works as a technical director/manager for both PICA and White Bird Dance.



PWNW cultivates artists and arts audiences, providing multiple opportunities for engagement in the creation and viewing of new performance. The breadth of work at PWNW covers a broad range of performance styles, genres and interdisciplinary approaches, including cutting edge dance, music, performance and media arts.


  • Linda Austin Dance: Solo and group projects by PWNW Artistic Director Linda Austin
  • Alembic:
  • PWNW Space Rental Program: Offering subsidized rehearsal, workshop and performance space to many of Portland’s leading performance groups, choreographers, and individual performers
  • Special Projects: Examples include a music/dance series in 2001, a commission of a new work by Sally Silvers in 2002, The Tuning Project with Lisa Nelson, Karen Nelson and Steve Paxton in 2008; Linda Austin’s History in the Making Workshop Series 2008-2009.

Hundreds of artists from the around the region and the country performed in these series:

  • Holy Goats Sunday Afternoon Improvisations (2001-2008, 2019)
  • The Richard Foreman Festival (2003-2012)
  • Alembic Series I (Space Grant + Performance, 2008)
  • Alembic Series II (Guest-Curated Events, 2009-2011)

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