Renovations for Mary Moody Northen Theatre and Austin Museum of Art - Laguna Gloria.
St. Ed's Makeover
Austin, are you ready for another new theatre construction project? How about another new museum building? Looks like we'll be getting both in the next several years as St. Edward's University, South Austin's school on the hill, undertakes a major makeover of its campus. Tuesday, the small Catholic college revealed to its faculty and staff a master plan that would replace the current dormitories with new residence halls, add an academic building, create new roads to reroute traffic through campus, add a maintenance facility, baseball and softball fields, and tennis courts on the western side of campus, and add a new chapel, a new theatre facility, and a new art museum. The plan contains some radical changes, such as routing traffic away from the gorgeous landmark Main Building and, alas, moving the Mary Moody Northen Theatre, off the hill where it has for years enjoyed one of the best views of Austin. Under the new plan, the MMNT loses that primo site to the proposed new chapel for a site to the west, nearer the current Congress Avenue entrance. It gets a new building and classroom, parking, and new entrances to the campus. The proposed art museum will also be situated in that area of campus. Theatre fans shouldn't worry about losing their scenic lookout overnight. Total implementation of the master plan is spread over 15 years, so you'll still have several seasons to enjoy the view.
Speaking of landscape renovations, the one taking place at the Laguna Gloria home of the Austin Museum of Art got a nice boost this past week. The Reese Foundation, a family foundation run by Pamela Ward Reese, her husband Michael Reese, and their daughter Shelly Reese, announced a gift of $1.5 million toward the restoration and expansion effort. The plan involves restoring Clara Driscoll's former home, new landscaping for the gardens, expansion of the art school, and construction of a new visitors' center with roughly 2,500 square feet of exhibit space. Lake | Flato Architects of San Antonio is the firm overseeing the process, which is slated to take three to four years to complete, at a cost of $12 million. That means the Reese Foundation gift will cover more than 10% of the expense. This follows the foundation's $1 million gift to AMOA's downtown museum project. Pamela Ward Reese sits on the AMOA board of trustees.
Art Travels III
Continuing news of Austinites on the move...
Several theatre folk have been making the New York scene this summer. Andra Mitrovich was in Long Island in July for another production of Love, Janis. While there, she took part in a theatre fundraiser hosted by Julie Andrews. (Now, there's a picture: Janis Joplin meets Mary Poppins... ) More stage folks went up to take part in the New York International Fringe Festival. This year's attendees include Salvage Vanguard Theater, with a remount of Dirigible, the acclaimed play by SVT co-artistic director Dan Dietz; Philip Owen, with a newly revised version of his solo show Homer; and ex-Austin troupe Theaterless Theater Corps with a staging of founder Josh Frank's theatrical adaptation of Werner Herzog's Stroszek... And Joe York is taking a break from the local boards to do some national auditions. But never fear, Yorkies, he'll be back this spring to bellow "Stel-la!" for Zach's Streetcar.