Paramount Theatre Launches New Digital Interview Series
Conversations with various experts from home, popcorn required
By Sofia Tafich,
1:10PM, Fri. May 1, 2020
It’s time to give Netflix a break (we know you’ve watched everything). There’s another form of quarantine entertainment coming, courtesy of a longstanding, Austin cultural favorite.
The Paramount Theatre is launching Paramount Conversations, a new digital interview series to entertain, educate, and inspire viewers starting on May 1, available for free on their website.
Active for more than a century, the theatre – usually busy with live performance events and film screenings – had to cancel over 100 shows due to the coronavirus. This didn’t stop them from finding an alternative to bring entertainment to people’s homes.
In a press release, Jim Ritts, CEO and executive director of the Austin Theatre Alliance said, “The goal of these programs is to capture interesting conversations between noted journalists, scientists and various thought-leaders. We hope the viewers find them to be both enlightening and entertaining.”
For the first episode, Paramount Conversations is partnering with the Texas Tribune and Texas Book Festival for an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Lawrence Wright. Interviewed by Evan Smith, CEO of Texas Tribune, the discussion will focus on Wright’s latest (and frighteningly timely) thriller novel The End of October, about a devastating global pandemic.
The second episode, scheduled for early May, will star Dr. Temple Grandin, prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. Grandin, who’s also an animal science professor at Colorado State University, will be interviewed by Duncan Strauss, journalist and host of the Talking Animals radio show and podcast.
Filming will primarily take place on the iconic Paramount Theatre’s stage and will follow the city’s clear COVID-19 prevention guidelines, including the wearing of protective equipment, strict social distancing, and having less than 10 people inside the building at a time.
Besides providing entertainment for quarantine through other initiatives such as their Quaranscreen Film Series, Paramount Theatre has also been directly helping the community. Their volunteer ushers turned 550 Paramount Theatre T-shirts into face masks to give to other organizations like Central Texas Food Bank, Austin Disaster Relief Network, and Community First! Village. They’re also planning to use the leftover T-shirt scraps from the masks to make dog toys for American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
The Paramount Conversations program series will be free and made available at paramountconversations.org, beginning at noon CDT on May 1, 2020. For more information on the Paramount Theatre, visit www.austintheatre.org.
Kimberley Jones, May 31, 2018
Richard Whittaker, April 6, 2017
Now: “It kind of made me love my job again.”
July 9, 2021
Now: "No restaurants, no bars. If you were seen out, you were considered fired.