An era ends: After 10 years, Vicky Boone resigns as artistic director of Frontera Productions.
Boone Resigns at Frontera
File this under "All Good Things Must Come to an End": Vicky Boone, co-founder of Frontera Productions and its sole artistic director for 10 years now, is stepping down as leader of the theatre company. Citing a variety of reasons, some personal, Boone tendered her resignation to the Frontera board of directors early this week. She will remain in Austin and will in fact retain her seat on the Frontera board, but she felt the need for a break from the daily pressures of running a company that has consumed her life for a decade now. In a press statement, Frontera board president Margaret Shaw said, "We can't possibly express our appreciation to Vicky for her years of service. Her contributions to the Austin arts community are immeasurable." Indeed, beyond the numerous award-winning productions she has directed (The House of Yes , Weldon Rising, The Water Principle, Silence, Cunning, Exile, The Race of the Ark Tattoo), she has through Frontera introduced Austin audiences to dozens of daring plays, provided an artistic home for such outstanding local talents as Steven Tomlinson, Zell Miller III, and Sharon Bridgforth, and such out-of-town talents as Daniel Alexander Jones, Laurie Carlos, W. David Hancock, and Erik Ehn; and helped establish the city's premier performance festival, FronteraFest -- in short, she provided a place where original and daring performance work was encouraged. And through her unfailing hospitality, it was a place where artists and audiences always felt welcome. Boone's decision was not made lightly, but she has handled the situation "with enormous grace and poise and strength," according to board member Paul Alvarado-Dykstra. What the move will mean for the future of the company is something the board wants to consider carefully. "Vicky being the heart and soul of the company," says Alvarado-Dykstra, "I don't know if it's even metaphysically possible to fill [her shoes]." For that reason, the board wants "to explore every reasonable option," from hiring a successor to Boone to spinning off FronteraFest as an independent entity to merging with another theatre company. Most important, Shaw says, is the fact that "Vicky has been instrumental in making Frontera a place that fosters Austin's creative soul, and the board is committed to preserving this spirit." And as a board member, Boone will be intimately involved in any decisions that are made.
One decision that has been made has been to cancel the company's production of Demonology that Boone was directing and that was scheduled to open May 4 at Hyde Park Theatre. Boone herself made the call based on her feeling that the production would not meet an artistic standard in keeping with Frontera's other work. The cancellation was made in consultation with the other artists working on the production and should not reflect negatively on the show's cast, designers, other crew members, or the playwright, all of whom enjoy Boone's continuing respect and admiration; it was just not to be. Shaw says, "The board respects what we know was a very difficult decision, and we fully stand by Vicky's creative judgment." At press time, no production had been booked to fill the empty slot in the theatre schedule, but the possibility was being explored. Alvarado-Dykstra notes that the rest of the theatre schedule will not be affected by Boone's resignation. Hyde Park is "pretty well booked through the year," he says, and the board is committed to keeping the venue secure for the companies that rent the theatre. A more in-depth look at this news and the history of Frontera will appear next week.