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Austin Playhouse

Some assembly required

By Robert Faires, Fri., Nov. 18, 2011

The stretch of time between Austin Playhouse's departure from its old home in Penn Field this past summer and the projected completion of its new home in the Mueller development next summer was just too long for Artistic Director Don Toner to go without staging something for his loyal theatregoing audience. And since he wasn't really keen on the itinerant players routine – been there, done that, with both Live Oak Theatre, his first company in town, and the Playhouse – he decided to do what he does so well: build something. In this case, something is a 55-foot-by-60-foot Quonset-hut-shaped tent in which plays can be produced. The $24,000 structure arrived in parts on the back of a truck in mid-October, and for four weeks, Toner and Playhouse company members have been assembling the steel arches, covering the frame with tension fabric, installing seats, hanging lights, building a stage, and doing everything else necessary to make the space a functioning theatre. (For more images, visit www.austinplayhouse.blogspot.com.) This week, the 129-seat venue becomes the home for Austin Playhouse's 2011-2012 season, which will include three to five shows. First up: James Goldman's juicy historical drama The Lion in Winter, running Nov. 18-Dec. 18. You can find the space at 1800½ Simond, which is adjacent to the site for the new permanent Austin Playhouse. For more information, call 476-0084 or visit www.austinplayhouse.com.

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