A new tool in finding performance space in Austin.

That Dadgum Final Frontier

If there's a downside to the plenitude of theatre companies and dance companies and chamber music ensembles and orchestras and other performing arts groups we enjoy in Austin, it's that the number of active cultural groups we have far surpasses the number of venues we have for them to strut their stuff in. For as long as I've been on the scene, space -- or rather, the lack of it -- has bedeviled local arts groups. While the last year has been a good one for easing the local space crunch -- the past 12 months alone have seen the debuts of an amazing nine venues: One World Theatre, The Hideout, Blue Theatre, Ducloux Hall at Austin Lyric Opera's Mary Armstrong Heller Opera Center, Doghouse Theatre, New Texas Music Works Studio at Flatbed World Headquarters, Dell Jewish Community Center, and Bad Dog Comedy Theater -- the ratio of arts groups to venues is still about 4:1. Which is why you'll still hear the following refrain among local artists: "We want to do this show, but we have to find a space."

One thing that should make the search for space considerably easier for local artists on the hunt is a new Performing Arts Facility Directory just released by the Austin Circle of Theatres. The directory covers more than 50 spaces across the city that are available for rental by community arts groups. It's slender as directories go, but as Mr. Tracy observed of Ms. Hepburn in one of their films, "Not much meat on her, but what's there is cherce!" Each listing boasts the kind of information that producers and directors thrive on: dimensions of the performance space, how many days a year the venue is available to the community, technical resources, contact names and numbers, availability of nearby parking, handicap accessibility, and -- hallelujah! -- detailed numbers on rental costs. (You can see at a glance whether you can afford, say, the Dougherty Arts Center Theatre and also just why more community groups don't rent UT's McCullough and B. Iden Payne theatres.)

ACoT's directory doesn't cover every rentable arts facility in town; you won't find listings for the Santa Cruz Center for Culture, Cafe Dance, New Texas Studio@Flatbed, John Henry Faulk Living Theater, Movements Gallery, Esther's Pool, Utopia Theatre on the UT campus, or Ducloux Hall, and a few facilities, such as The Acting Studio and the Bad Dog Comedy Theater, are listed but without the detailed info that the majority of venues has. (The facilities were contacted but declined to be included.) Still, the material contained therein is impressive, valuable to the community as a whole, and definitely useful to anyone with a mind to putting on a show in Austin. The directory is available to ACoT members for $10 and to nonmembers for $20. For more information, call ACoT at 454-9700.

And while we're on the subject of new spaces, here's your reminder that one is opening this very weekend. The Bad Dog Comedy Theater, 110 E. Riverside, throws open its doors this Friday, July 14, with Grand Opening act The Impromptones, a sublime L.A. ensemble of musical improv artists, singing some of the funniest numbers you've ever heard, composed off the tops of their heads, in shows at 8pm and 10pm both Friday and Saturday nights. For more information, call 804-BDOG or visit the Bad Dog on the Web at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Articulations
The Harry Ransom Center has acquired all the professional and personal materials of profoundly influential acting teacher Stella Adler

Robert Faires, April 30, 2004

It's the end of an era for the city of Austin's Art in Public Places Program as Martha Peters, administrator of the program for 11 of its 18 years, departs to direct a public art program in Fort Worth.

Robert Faires, July 18, 2003


Articulations, arts news, austin arts news, Performing Arts Facility Directory, Austin Circle of Theatres, ACoT, One World Theatre, The Hideout, New Texas Music Works Studio, New Texas StudioFlatbed, Flatbed World Headquarters, Dell Jewish Community Center, Blue Thea

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle