FronteraFest at 9

In its ninth year, FronteraFest is, as they say, under new management. Last summer, Vicky Boone resigned as artistic director of the Frontera theatre company, which necessitated finding someone else to helm the company and the festival if they were to continue. The Frontera board was committed to keeping both alive and found a couple of ingenious ways to do that without just bringing someone in to fill Boone's shoes. They handed the keys of Hyde Park Theatre, Frontera's home space, over to Ken Webster, artistic director of the Subterranean Theatre Company and an artist long affiliated with Frontera, and at the same time retired the Frontera company name with Boone, starting a new era as Hyde Park Theatre. Then they found a company willing to partner with them in producing FronteraFest: Austin Script Works, an organization that supports local playwrights and new works. ASW Producing Director Christina J. Moore agreed to serve as festival producer.

Despite the changes, the 2002 Festival is pretty much as it has been: The traditional showcase of short pieces (25 minutes or less), now known as the Short Fringe, will be presented five nights a week over a span of five weeks at Hyde Park Theatre, and full-length works will be showcased over a two-week stretch in the Long Fringe. The Short Fringe will continue to include a "Best of the Week" program each Saturday night, culled from outstanding works presented the preceding Tuesday through Friday, and the fifth week will still be devoted entirely to pieces deemed the "Best of the Fest" by judges. The Long Fringe is a little smaller this year -- it features only a dozen productions at only one venue, the Blue Theatre -- but it still promises some intriguing new work by such dynamic creative forces as Amparo Garcia-Crow, Chris Alonzo, realmdanceproject, Tongue and Groove Theatre, Ellen Bartel, Caroline Sutton, Andrew Baron, Piper Anderson, Florinda Bryant, Marian Thamynyagam, and Carl Anderson.

The Long Fringe Bring Your Own Venue returns, with another contribution from Guy Roberts, director of the Long Fringe productions of A Macbeth and The Seagull. It's a double bill of La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler and The Stronger by August Strindberg, co-produced by Austin Shakespeare Festival and the Austin Community College Drama Department. The shows will be performed at the Gallery Theatre on the ACC Rio Grande campus Feb. 7-11, Thursday-Monday, 8pm, plus Sunday at 2pm. Admission is free (donation suggested). For information, call 223-3339.

Plus, there's Mi Casa Es Su Teatro, a host of original pieces performed in homes throughout Austin on Saturday, Feb. 9. Tickets are $3 per performance and will be sold at the door on a cash-only, first-come, first-serve basis.

Now that you're grounded in FronteraFest 2002, check out the accompanying schedules and descriptions of the various events on these pages, then check out the event that is Austin theatre in the next five weeks.

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