I was lucky enough to be invited to a personal tour of ZACH Theatre’s new mainstage, The Topfer (pronounced top-fur) Theatre earlier this week. This theatre allows ZACH to truly make the jump from a small professional theatre to premiere regional theatre by providing a new, state of the art performance facility as part of downtown Austin’s already growing culture and arts scene. Downtown Austin needs a real regional theatre, and this structure and the excitement it will bring to the theatre and arts community is a huge step in the right direction.
Per an article in the Austin Chronicle (link) – ZACH Theatre had been contemplating building a third theatre in its complex as early at 1985, when they held over some funds from that year’s bond election to help fund building a third theatre. In 2000, the economy stalled, putting the project on hold, but, through a kick-start of funding of $10 million through the 2006 City of Austin bond election, and then fueled by direct private donation – the project was revived in 2007. Overall, it’s a $22 million project, and they still need to raise about $2 million for completion.
The ZACH Theatre compound falls within the Zilker Neighborhood Association, but it is easily accessible to downtown Austin condos and homes and, really, feels like a part of downtown to many. I was told the ZNA was supportive the variances Zach Scott needed to build the Topfer Theatre.
As a college Theatre Major and all around theatre nerd, I was soooooo impressed with the Topfer Theatre and Kuykendall Stage.
- Celebrated Austin actress Karen Kuykendall has her ashes kept under the stage, isn’t that crazy?! (What’s even crazier is that there are no “r”s in “Kuykendall”!)
- The Topfer Theatre has a LEED Silver Certification
- Over 70 new parking spots have been added to the ZACH Theatre compound
- 40 new trees were added to the lot, as well
- The AC and other mechanical components of the theatre have a separate foundation from the stage – this is to minimize any possibility of noise and rumbling during performances.
- The theatre’s design is taken from the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago (the house is a little narrower)
- The theatre house seats ~420
- The theatre was designed by the same architects who did The W – Andersson-Wise Architects
For more incredible pictures and theatre fun facts – check out Bryan Kosarek’s Gay in Austin Texas Blog.
Interested in searching for Austin homes for sale in or near Downtown Austin? Be sure to check out our property search to view Austin homes for sale.
Additionally, here are some condominiums in Downtown Austin that are near the theatre – to learn more about these individual buildings, visit their pages: