Established in 1984, Urban Stages presents new works and new artists through staged readings and workshops. Plays that began at Urban Stages have gone on to commercial runs.

Along with the theater's programs and productions that nurture the work of creative adults, Urban Stages also reaches out to youth through its school programs and summer camp. Students ages 10-14 are invited to spend the summer creating and performing their own work in a structured environment aimed at creating an appreciation and aptitude for theater. Urban Stages' outreach program sends actors and educators to schools to entertain and teach kids, who otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience live theater.