Austin Playhouse Moves to Interim Location on 22nd Street, West Campus District
AUSTIN PLAYHOUSE MOVES TO NEW INTERIM LOCATION WITH FIRST PERFORMANCE IN AUGUST
Following its departure from Austin Community College Highland in 2021, Austin Playhouse will now call 405 West 22nd home while continuing to pursue the vital project of establishing its permanent venue in Austin.
After a successful all-virtual 2020-2021 Ghostlight Season, a workshop production of a new musical, and two productions at Trinity Street Playhouse, moving into this interim space will allow Austin Playhouse to produce works and provide an additional much needed performance space in Austin while focusing on the company’s future.
Located in the heart of West Campus, the new venue will be established in the education building on the University Baptist Church’s (UBC) campus. Austin Playhouse will renovate the third-floor auditorium into a flexible performance space. With capacity for approximately 120 patrons, minor renovations will extend the existing proscenium stage offering flex seating configurations that can transform based on staging. Additionally, Austin Playhouse will occupy most of the building’s second floor which will have a studio/rehearsal room, dressing rooms, green room and offices.
Built in 1950 as a student union due to rising demand for more campus resources post World War II, the building’s exterior features artwork by two nationally recognized Modernist artists, both of whom were University of Texas at Austin professors at the time. Visible from 22nd Street, Seymour Fogel’s mural, Creation, was a pioneering work in the ethyl silicate medium and Charles Umlauf’s sculpture, Prayer, is also featured in the brick façade above the entrance.
“Our slogan is ‘Rooted in faith. Progressive in action.’ Since our founding in 1908, University Baptist Church has been known as one of Austin’s progressive voices of faith. An important part of our history includes supporting the arts,” said Hans Venable, member and Church Moderator. “As church membership and attendance patterns have changed over the last 25 years, inner city and university area churches, like UBC, explore alternative uses for our buildings as outreach community centers. UBC is super excited to partner with Austin Playhouse to convert our third-floor auditorium back into a theatre space. We look forward to sharing one of our assets with the Austin community and welcome the Austin Playhouse family (staff, directors, actors, theatre technicians, season subscribers and patrons) to UBC and the West Campus area.”
“This new venue will give us the security to plan seasons along with the flexibility to make adjustments as needed, and we couldn’t be more excited that University Baptist Church wanted to increase their impact in the community by transforming the education building into a performing arts venue allowing this amazing opportunity for Austin Playhouse and the arts in Austin. As we keep in mind our goal of a permanent, sustainable home, we're looking forward to creating an interim facility for Austin Playhouse and Austin's greater performing arts community. Austin Playhouse has made theatre in some out-of the-way spots including renovating a World War I flight training facility, building a clear-span tent in a field, and transforming a Foot Locker in a dying mall into a functional venue. We're looking forward to being in the bustling heart of West Campus and reaching a new community with a welcoming venue for our long-time, loyal audience,” said Austin Playhouse Producing Artistic Director, Lara Toner Haddock. “The audience and artist experience are at the heart of what we do. We're looking at every part of that experience as we plan our return to a full season of productions. Coming through this pandemic it's imperative that we create with joy. We want to crush barriers to access and use our resources to uplift every member of our community. We look forward to welcoming everyone to our new home and are so grateful for the support the UBC community has already shown.”
Beginning in August, in-person performances will take place at the new interim Austin Playhouse West Campus located at 405 West 22nd. Free street parking is available with paid garage parking conveniently located across the street.
Previews of Departing Attractions, a collection of short plays by local playwright Lowell Bartholomee, running August 5–20, 2022 will be the inaugural production at Austin Playhouse West Campus located in the heart of Austin at 405 West 22nd.
Austin Playhouse is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and Texas Commission on the Arts and funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Shubert Foundation.
Austin Playhouse is dedicated to providing opportunities for Austin artists and audiences to celebrate the human experience. Austin Playhouse will nourish your mind, delight your spirit, and enrich your life through professional productions of classic, contemporary, and musical plays. For more information visit austinplayhouse.com.
Austin Playhouse is a professional theatre in its 22nd season. Under the leadership of Co-Producing Artistic Directors Don Toner and Lara Toner Haddock, Austin Playhouse has grown from a three-play season on the campus of Concordia University, to a year-round operation producing an average of six mainstage plays, theatre for youth productions, and a new play festival. Austin Playhouse plans to build a permanent home for the veteran theatre troupe and all of Austin’s artistic community.