In 2007, First Austin allotted $60,000 for the creation of a theater space: a black box in a storage quadrant on the fourth floor. With money and motivation in hand, then Minister of Creative Discipleship, Rev. Ann Pittman, alongside church members Cathy Jones, David McCullars and Linda Miller Raff, began clearing the space, painting it black, building raked seating, ordering lights, curtains, chairs, etc. Dan Hemingson made recommendations on sound equipment which was purchased and installed. Rev. Pittman served as the Artistic Director until 2010 when leadership was turned over to an Arts Team – volunteers from First Austin.
During this time, First Austin noticed a need in the Austin arts community for theatrical space. TSP began renting her black box to a couple of local theatre companies including Penfold Theatre and Scriptworks. Additionally, in 2014, TSP initiated a partnership with Austin Jewish Repertory Theater to produce the award-winning Fiddler on the Roof.
That same year, First Austin sought to designate a staff member to TSP, and Ann Pittman (now Zarate) was hired again to serve as Artistic Director. Rental requests continued to increase with around 45 weeks of the year offered to Austin’s theatre companies including Jarrott Productions, Southwest Theatre Productions, Different Stages, Last Act, Color Arc Productions, and more. So in 2016, Sarah Zeringue joined TSP as Executive Director and served for two years.
Also that year, TSP began its commitment to new works with a “Workshop Production” series. Scripts still in development received a full-on production including costumed actors, lights, sound, set…everything a playwright needs to garner a sense of what works with the play and what could still use development. Adding to her list of partners, TSP joined MainStreet Musicals workshopping two new musicals which culminated in a performance by Broadway veteran, Tim Jerome, performing on her stage.
In 2017, rentals were at an all- time high with requests for the black box. First Austin hired actor and designer Steve Williams as Technical Director. He designs TSP productions, and oversees renters in the space. In 2018, TSP began celebrating her 10th season, and the players finally named their black box. Trinity Street Playhouse became an official location on Google! The Playhouse received official signs outside First Austin on Trinity and 9th Streets.
Productions over the past eight years were plentiful and enlisted a community of over 200 Austin artists, many of whom are members of First Austin. Check out our past seasons for more information on Trinity Street Players shows!
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