Austin Playhouse Reveals Final Renderings of its New Venue

The 17,000-square-foot building will have two venues



Austin Playhouse released renderings of its new two-theater center designed by Forge Craft Architecture and Design.

Architect Scott Ginder of the Austin-based firm is the lead on the project. In 2011, Ginder designed a 17,000-square-foot facility for Austin Playhouse which at the time was planned to be build within the Mueller development. Ginder’s update to that design makes it ready for Austin Playhouse’s new site in Northeast Austin.

The building features a soaring, glass-front corner entry with a large overhang. A patio  with seating fronts the entrance and a covered rooftop terrace caps the building.

Rendering of the new Austin Playhouse facility
Rendering of the new Austin Playhouse lobby. Image courtesy Forge Craft Architecture and Design

The double-height lobby, which will have a bar, features exposed concrete tilt-wall design with sustainable bamboo trim throughout.

The new building will have two theaters: a 207-seat modified thrust main stage and a 99-seat black box stage. Back-of-house features include a scene shop, a costume loft and dressing rooms.

The building will also have flexible spaces for performances and events that include the rooftop terrace and the outdoor patio as well as a large classroom. In addition to Austin Playhouse offices, there will also be 1700-square-feet of office space available for rental.

Last year, an anonymous donor gave Austin Playhouse $1 million toward the purchase of property and the building of a two-theater venue. Then in April, the non-profit performing arts organization purchased a 2.8 acre site at 1717 E. Anderson Lane along the Hwy. 183 frontage road.

Rendering of the new Austin Playhouse facility.
Rendering of the new 207-seat mainstage of the new Austin Playhouse theater. Image courtesy Forge Craft Architecture and Design

Austin Playhouse officials expect the building permit to be approved in early November with the site permit approved by the end of the year. Opening of the building is expected some time in mid-2021.

To date, Austin Playhouse has raised $500,000 to cover the initial architectural drawings, engineering plans, a feasibility study and project consultants. And the organization has raised 65 percent of its $2.3 million goal to cover the land purchase, site design and development, and building construction

Austin Playhouse hopes to complete fundraising by 2021, a spokesperson said. A final phase of the building campaign, to raise $1.5 million for the retirement of construction loans, is projected to be completed by 2025.

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is an arts and culture journalist who has covered visual art, performance, film, literature, architecture, and just about any combination thereof. She was the staff arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman for 17 years. Her commendations include the First Place Arts & Culture Criticism Award from the Society for Features Journalism. Additionally, Jeanne Claire has been awarded professional fellowships at USC’s Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and NEA/Columbia University Arts Journalism Institute. In 2022, she was awarded the Rabkin Prize in visual art journalism. Jeanne Claire founded and led Sightlines, a non-profit online arts and culture magazine that reached an annual readership of 600,000. And for two years, she taught arts journalism at the University of Texas College of Fine Arts. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Architecture magazine, Dwell, the Review of Contemporary Fiction, Art Papers, and ICON design magazine, among other publications.

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