KidsActing: The Young Ones Take Center Stage

The space known as Arts on Real gets a new name and becomes a theatre of, by, and for kids

Three months ago, the Eastside lost a live theatre. Next week, it gets a new one. And guess what? It's the same theatre – well, the same location, anyway.

The theatre that closed was Arts on Real, the elegant showplace that Blake Yelavich built out of an abandoned ice factory and ran as an arts venue until he lost his lease this spring. (See Arts on Real, May 2.) Now, the space has been acquired by KidsActing founder/director Dede Clark as a replacement for her performing-arts school's old headquarters on Burnet Road, which had to be vacated in December when the property was sold to make way for a new Walgreens. Clark had booked Arts on Real for some upcoming KidsActing shows, so when she learned it was closing, she appealed to the property owner for help. That led to her being able to lease the space and make a new home for KidsActing. The theatre, now christened Center Stage, opens Friday, Aug. 8, 10am, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring state Sen. Kirk Watson and music by the Austin Lounge Lizards, plus actors from KidsActing's new production of Cyberella, which opens that night. This Internet-era spin on Cinderella, complete with chat rooms and virtual villains, is an original KidsActing musical, with songs by Tish Hinojosa, Robert "Beto" Skiles, the Austin Lounge Lizards, and others.

Clark sees the new space as a way to get more kids involved in the creative process and more diverse kinds of kids than she's ever been able to reach before. And while adults will be around, Center Stage will be "the kids' theatre," she insists: kids running lights, running sound, running the box office, everything. That's definitely new.

Cyberella runs Aug. 9-23, Fridays, 7pm; Saturday, Aug. 9, 7pm; Saturday, Aug. 16 & 23, 2:30 & 7pm; Sundays, 1 & 5pm, at Center Stage, 2826 Real. Special show to raise funds for Center Stage: Thursday, Aug. 14, 7pm. For more information, visit

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KidsActing, Dede Clark, Arts on Real, Blake Yelavich

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