After City Council approved a $4.5 million investment from the 2018 Creative Spaces Bonds on Dec. 14, Austin Playhouse grew significantly closer to its $7.5 million goal that will be used to build a permanent arts center.

In a nutshell

Austin Playhouse officials bought the 2.8 acres of land for the arts center in 2019 near Anderson Lane after raising $1.5 million in the first phase of the campaign to pay for the land, initial architectural drawings and engineering plans.

Officials said the building is now fully permitted and shovel-ready; however, they still need to raise the remaining $3 million for the second and final phase, which will fund site development and building construction.

Zooming in

Plans for the 25,000-square-foot arts center include two theaters—a main stage with 207 seats and a 99-seat black box, along with flex spaces for performances and events, a scene shop and costume loft, rehearsal and classroom spaces, and a lobby—in addition to housing the Austin Playhouse offices.

Zooming out

Created in 2000 by Don Toner in partnership with over 20 Austin artists, Austin Playhouse is a nonprofit, professional theatre company that aims to create a space for local theatre artists, especially artists of color, by producing theatrical productions that are open to the public.

The theater company called a converted warehouse at Penn Field home until the rising cost of rent forced them to vacate in 2011, officials said. Since then, they have been on the hunt for a permanent spot while moving a few times into various interim locations. Most recently, they moved into a space in the University Baptist Church's education building.

How to help

Those interested in donating to the Austin Playhouse Arts Center fund can do so online. Donations in all increments are accepted; however, any donations greater than $2,500 will be recognized in the main stage lobby's Founders' Wall in the arts center.

Quote of note

“Having flexible and affordable spaces throughout the city is essential to the sustainability of Austin's cultural ecosystem," said Austin Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Lara Toner Haddock in a news release. "We will still need to raise the remaining funds necessary to complete the project, but this tremendous support from the city makes it a gap and not an insurmountable chasm.”