Hail & Farewell, Alice
It's never easy saying goodbye, but it's certainly nicer when you're surrounded by friends and colleagues and reminded of all that you've accomplished through the years. Just ask Alice Wilson, who's bidding farewell to the Zachary Scott Theatre Center this week after 18 years with the theatre, first as the artistic director of Project InterAct, Zach's professional children's theatre program, and since 1989 as producing artistic director of the theatre itself. Before she could leave, however, Wilson was honored with a ceremony commemorating her service to the theatre and the arts in Austin. Sunday, August 24, 120 of Wilson's co-workers and comrades filled the John R. Whisenhunt Arena Stage -- Zach's second stage, which Wilson had a big hand in planning and seeing built -- to pay tribute to her and wish her well. A 20-minute video montage covered Wilson's career as playwright and director, showing stills from her acclaimed InterAct productions, such as Workin' Texas, Flashback!, and Poe, and her efforts for Zach's mainstage, including the highly regarded productions of The Trip to Bountiful, Mirandolina, Shear Madness, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Born Yesterday, and Sylvia. Tributes came from former Zach board chairman Phil Maxwell, former Zach staffer Alex Alford (now with Austin Lyric Opera), actor and former InterAct company member Lauri Raymond, and Zach managing director Dave Steakley, who assumes the title of producing artistic director with Wilson's departure. All of the testimony was eloquent and full of praise, but for sheer appropriateness, none could match that paid by the assembled when the presentations were complete: that ringing endorsement most beloved by show folk, the standing ovation. Wilson leaves Zachary Scott to pursue a new career as a corporate trainer and meeting facilitator. Next week, a Chronicle "Arts" feature story takes a more detailed look at Wilson's stage career and her impact on the local theatre scene.
Remembering Bill Jay
A memorial service for theatre artist and activist Bill Jay, who died August 12 of a heart attack, will be held on September 1, Monday, at Planet Theatre. Friends will gather to remember Jay's contributions to Austin theatre as an actor, a director, a stage manager, and a board member for both the VORTEX Repertory Company, and the Austin Circle of Theatres. For more information, call Bonnie Collum at 478-LAVA.
Off the Desk
A quick reminder to support the next generation of theatre artists this weekend. The fifth annual Texas Young Playwrights Festival is running Friday and Saturday at the McCullough Theatre on the UT campus. The festival features full productions of four short plays by Texas teens, as produced by the Dougherty Arts Center, the UT Department of Theatre & Dance, and the city's latest venture in support of local playwrights, Austin Script Works. For more info, see the "Theatre Lisitngs" in this issue.