Articulations

Ciccolella Change-Up

If you go up to most people in Austin (especially theatre people) and say "Austin Circle of Theatres," they'll think "Ann Ciccolella." That's because for the past eight and a half years, Ciccolella has been the point person for the longtime arts umbrella, and she's taken the job seriously. If there was a meeting, a hearing, a party where ACoT needed to be represented, Ann was there, talking it up, pressing the flesh, pushing for results. If there was a show, a project, a benefit that needed touting, Ann was there, too, getting the word out at coffee, on e-mails, and in countless phone calls. If someone was new to town and wanted a bead on the local theatre scene, that person always ended up talking to Ann, and she always answered their questions, gave them the lowdown, fixed them up with contacts, and sold them on the Circle of Theatres. Her job title is executive director of ACoT, but to most folks, she is ACoT.

Well, she won't be much longer. After weeks of sitting quietly on the news, Ciccolella has finally gone public with the announcement that she is leaving ACoT at the end of the summer to take the position of managing director at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center. Zach has been in the market for a managing director for two years, but despite a national search, Artistic Director Dave Steakley never quite found the right match for him and the theatre. Then, in the course of the year he spent directing Angels in America, he had a chance to work closely with Ciccolella, who served as the show's dramaturg. "We found it to be a really wonderful working relationship, surprising each other in the best ways, and able to have a lot of trust and truth in our collaboration," says Steakley. That paved the way for Ciccolella to join the Zach team.

It's clear that Zach Scott is gaining a dynamic and motivated administrator with deep roots in Austin's arts scene (not to mention a top-flight artist, as seen by her inspired direction of Full Gallop and My Children! My Africa! this spring). What is ACoT gaining? Mostly, that remains to be seen, as the umbrella's board is only just beginning its search for Ciccolella's successor. It may be new blood, something that most organizations find useful, or it may be an opportunity to reinvent itself in light of the dramatic changes taking place in the local arts scene. Whatever it gains, ACoT won't lose Ciccolella. She insists she will continue to serve the organization as a board member and as a resource person. For more info, call ACoT at 499-8388.


Another Long Center Gift

It feels awkward squeezing this news in at the bottom of a column, but it didn't seem right to let this week go by without mentioning the latest major gift to the campaign for the Joe R.andTeresa Lozano LongCenter for the Performing Arts. Late last week, ARTS Center Stage announced that Angela and Mort Topfer had joined the drive to renovate Palmer Auditorium with a gift of $5 million. The couple is already deeply involved in several big projects locally: He's vice chairman of Dell Computer Corporation, she's vice chair of the Dell Jewish Community Campus Development Corporation, and together they co-chair AMOA 2002, the capital campaign for the Austin Museum of Art, and the United Way Alexis de Tocqueville Society. But apparently that wasn't enough. So now the Long Center has $5 mil more, and in 2003, we'll have the Angela and Mort Topfer Theatre, a 600-seat auditorium in the new facility.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ann Ciccolella, Zachary Scott Theatre Center, Dave Steakley, Arts Center Stage, Angela Topfer, Mort Topfer, Joe R. And Teresa Lozano Long Center For The Performing Arts, Palmer Auditorium

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