Harris Theater’s Mission

The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance is Chicago’s primary residence for music and dance, connecting diverse audiences with outstanding artists from across the city, the nation, and the world. 

Opened in November 2003 in Chicago’s Millennium Park, the 1,499-seat state-of-the-art theater was the first multi-use performance venue built in downtown Chicago since 1929. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Harris Theater features the most diverse offerings of any venue in Chicago, and has earned national recognition as a distinctive model for collaboration, performance, and artistic advancement.

The Theater’s activities fall under three central strategies: support for local music and dance companies, presentation of national and international artists, and community engagement and educational programs. 

Today, the Harris Theater’s original group of 12 resident companies has grown to include 30 diverse music and dance companies, including Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNow, Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Music of the Baroque. The Theater supports resident companies with subsidized rental, technical expertise, marketing support, and professional development opportunities, allowing the organizations to focus on what they do best—bringing the finest in music and dance performances to the public. 

The Harris Theater is also dedicated to presenting the highest quality artistic programming, bringing celebrated artists and ensembles from throughout the world to Chicago through the Harris Theater Presents series. The Theater has achieved widespread recognition as a vital cultural anchor in Chicago, bringing artists such as Daniel Barenboim, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Angélique Kidjo, Hamburg Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet, and Stephen Sondheim to the Elizabeth Morse Genius Stage.

The Harris Theater’s community engagement initiatives take advantage of access to the world’s leading musicians and dancers, building bridges to people from throughout the Chicago region and nurturing the next generation of artists and audiences. Ongoing programs include Arts Education Partnerships, which offers master classes and artist talks, and Access Tickets, which has provided over 13,000 free tickets to youth and families from more than 35 partner organizations.