T. J. Gaudette

Shortly after midnight on October 31, local theatre artist T. J. Gaudette died. Gaudette had been battling AIDS for some time. Gaudette had ties throughout the theatre community but was most closely identified with VORTEX Repertory Company, for whom he worked as an actor (Nightsweat), a stage manager (The Baltimore Waltz), and a scene designer (Steel Kiss, Post Post Porn Modernist, Wisdom of the Crone, Free Will and Wanton Lust). In the company's final season at the VORTEX Performance Cafe on Ben White Boulevard, Gaudette served as Production Manager, and company founder and artistic light Bonnie Cullum credits Gaudette with keeping the company alive as it made the transition to its current home, Planet Theatre. Without question, he shall be missed.

African-American Theatre Symposium

African-American theatre artists will be able to meet and discuss their needs when the Progressive Arts Collective hosts the symposium Setting Our Agenda: Preparing for the 21st Century. Presentations and focus groups led by Austin arts professionals will cover careers, training, non-traditional casting, audience development, performance art, what makes a production, and other topics, specifically as they relate to black actors, writers, designers, and directors. The event has been assembled by Boyd Vance, longtime Austin theatre artist who moved to San Francisco last year but is back in town starring in the Zachary Scott Theatre Center revival of Shear Madness. Vance has nurtured many local African-American theatre artists in the past 20 years and says the community of such artists is more alive than ever. "What we have to do now," says Vance, "is sit down and figure out what people's objectives are and how they're going to reach them and how we're all going to work together." The symposium is set for two days: Nov 18 and Jan 20. The November half will open with a welcome by Michael Coleman and a brief history of Austin theatre from Vance. The morning session will be held at the Austin Community College Rio Grande campus, the afternoon session will be held at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center. For more info, call Vance or Dewy Brooks at 447-5343.

On the Funding Front

The Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery has secured a major grant from the Institute of Museum Services. The art museum for the University of Texas at Austin was awarded $112,500 for the Institute's 1995-1997 funding cycle. The grant serves a double purpose: financial assistance in that trickiest of areas to secure funds, general operating support, and recognition from one of the nation's most respected evaluators of museum operations and programs.

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