Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play
by Vortex Summer Youth Theatre

May. 16 - May. 28

Mr. Burns, a post-electric play is a dark American comedy by Anne Washburn, featuring music by Michael Friedman. Mr. Burns tells the story of a group of survivors of a global catastrophe (!!!) recalling and retelling The Simpsons “Cape Feare” episode. The play moves into the future as the cultural mythology of this tale takes an absurd evolution into cult-like engagement. This award-winning play originally premiered at the Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington D.C. in 2012 and then Playwrights Horizons, New York City. 

Directed by Jennifer Jennings. Musical Direction by Tyler Mabry. Scenic Design by Ann Marie Gordon. Costume Design by Aaron Flynn. Lighting Design by Patrick Anthony. Assistant Director, Jelena Stojilkovic Rhynes. Stage Manager, Sarah Hogestyn. Producing Artistic Director, Bonnie Cullum. 




MAY 16, 18 & 28, 2022

The VORTEX seeks students ages 13-17 to participate in Summer Youth Theatre 2022 (SYT). This year’s program is highly competitive for a position with a select youth ensemble including actors, musicians, technicians, understudies, and production assistants. 

Now in its 30th year, this award-winning tuition-free program rehearses and performs evenings and weekends May 31-August 6, 2022. Rehearsals culminate in a full production of Mr. Burns: a post-electric play, presented to the public over two weekends.

Students of any ethnicity, heritage, gender, disability, or economic background, and students of all experience levels are welcome to audition for a small ensemble of diverse youth who will train together as they rehearse and perform this remarkable new play. Adult theatre professionals mentor students in all aspects of theatre including acting, design, technical theatre, and publicity.  

Actors who are also singers and musicians are encouraged to audition.

We are also accepting applications for students interested in design and tech.

Auditions will be held at The VORTEX, 2307 Manor Rd. Austin, TX 78722.
Students must:

  • AUDITION/INTERVIEW: By appointment at
    Applications also accepted for students primarily interested in design and tech. 
  • Student submits application online or by mail, signed by parent/guardian. 
  • Prepare a memorized, one-minute monologue from a play. 
  • Schedule 15-minute, in-person audition/Interview. 
  • A parent/guardian is required to attend the interview. 
  • All students are required to send proof of up- to-date vaccination prior to auditions and participate in all COVID health and safety protocols, which may include testing and masks.

Click HERE for the audition sign-up form for the Vortex Summer Youth Theatre 2022



For several generations, SYT has provided high-caliber theatrical productions to Austin audiences as the jewel of VORTEX’s community engagement. The Austin Chronicle named SYT “Best Theatre Program that Treats Kids like Grownups.” Nominated for dozens of local awards, SYT has received B. Iden Payne Awards for Outstanding Production of a Play for Youth for The Commedia of Errors and Machinal, Outstanding Direction of a Play for Youth for The Commedia of Errors, The Physicists, Moby Dick, and The Frogs, Outstanding Acting for The Physicists and Moby Dick, and Outstanding Sound Design for Machinal. Every year, students work with adult artists who are among Austin’s most celebrated theatre professionals. Producing Artistic Director, Bonnie Cullum, who founded SYT in 1991, was inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame in 2009.



Anne Washburn is from the West and Northwest and as a result prefers her foliage and landscapes a little on the drastic side. Her plays include, The Internationalist, Apparition, The Communist Dracula Pageant, The Ladies, I Have Loved Strangers, Little Bunny Foo Foo, and a transadaptation of Euripides' Orestes. Her work has been produced by 13P, American Repertory Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, The Civilians, Dixon Place, E.S.T., London’s Gate Theatre, NYC’s Soho Rep., DC’s Studio Theater, and NYC’s Vineyard Theatre, among others. Her plays have been published by American Theatre, Theatre Magazine, and by Playscripts, and are included in the anthologies New Downtown Now, New York Theater Review 2007, and The Civilians: an Anthology of Six Plays. Support includes a Bug ‘n’ Bub Award, residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo, and a Guggenheim. She has been commissioned by The Civilians, Soho Rep, the Williamstown Theater Festival, and Yale, is a member of 13P and The Civilians, and a New Georges affiliated artist.



Jennifer Jennings was most recently seen eating up all the okra as Weezy the Talking Goat in the Rolling World Premiere of Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly and was honored to direct the first devised work in SYT’s history last summer. A VORTEX Rep Company member, her productions include Performance Park (winner of four 2018 Austin Critics Table awards), Wild Horses (2018 B. Iden Payne Outstanding Actress in a Drama; Robert Faires' Top 10 (+1) Theatre Riches of 2017; 2018 Austin Critics Table Performance by an Individual), Storm Still (2018 B. Iden Payne Small Cast Performance in Scripted Theatre), Terminus (2016 B. Iden Payne Outstanding Cast Performance), Sing Muse (2013 B. Iden Payne Outstanding Original Score), Air, :humpty, Lear, Sleeping Beauty, Oceana, and Secret Life of the In-Betweeners. Favorite regional productions include Much Ado About Nothing (Penfold Theatre and Present Company), Agent Andromeda (Sky Candy), title of show (Austin Theatre Project), The History of King Lear (The Hidden Room), The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Austin Theatre Project), and Still Now (Shrewd Productions). 



We conjure urgent, unashamed art to create action in a shifting age. We embrace diverse communities, break down barriers, and elevate inclusive discourse from our cultural harbor in Austin, Texas. We enliven humanity with magical green new theatre at our Butterfly Bar and Sanctuary.



Our core values are encompassed by the Pentacle of Integrity: Transformation, Magic, Community, Diversity, and Earth. Integrity lives at our core. We engage in radical transformation through edge-walking artistic creations and innovations. Magic emanates from our cultural harbor, engaging Spirit. Our space and our culture support expanding circles of inclusive community. Our art reflects diversity of people and voices from the global majority. Sustainability and environmentalism center Earth at our foundation.


Sponsorships and community donations subsidize these tuition-free opportunities for youth. Please contact us at to support these crucial educational opportunities. Summer Youth Theatre 2022 is also funded and supported in part by VORTEX Repertory Company, Six Square Austin’s Black Cultural District, a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.