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Arts & Culture

San Antonio's Theater Scene is Long on Space, Short on Productions

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Brad Adams and Gloria Molina-Sanchez in AtticRep’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Photo: , License: N/A

Dru Barcus and Brendan Spieth in Classic Theatre’s Scapin

“Right now, we are just trying to respond to all the leads,” said Dino Foxx, public relations officer for Jump-Start, and one of the company’s principal artists. “We were really overwhelmed with the support that we’ve received. Not only did we hear from every local theater company in regards to their support, but folks are willing to help,” he said. Not surprisingly, Overtime Theater, which went through a similar, if much more rapid, edging out, was the first to respond with offers to make space for Jump-Start’s season, if no other venue is found.

Many have spoken harshly against Lifshutz, condemning him for making life difficult for artists at the complex with higher rents accompanying renovations that brought in new restaurants, including the recently arrived Halcyon and Stella Public House, with two more building out this summer — and have accused him of abandoning theater altogether.

“Not so,” Lifshutz told the Current recently. “My intent is to keep it [the Jump-Start space] a theater space for theater, music, and lectures,” he said. Asked if another resident theater company might be allowed to move in after the completion of new renovations planned to begin in early 2014, he responded that he was, “just starting down this path, so I don’t have any answers yet. I’m not even sure what the questions are.” But, he emphasized, “I think San Antonio, from my layman’s perspective, has a lot of theatrical talent. I don’t know what it would take to take it to the next level. It’s not considered a theater town. Why not? Is it because we don’t have a theater district?”

It will take a year or more to learn if theater continues at Blue Star, and even longer before performing arts shine on the stages of the Tobin Center. Envisioned as the new home for the Symphony and other performing arts groups, it’s uncertain if local theater companies will have a chance to perform there, or whether the new facility will be reserved for high-dollar outfits such as the new Opera San Antonio, which will preview its aspirations May 23 in a concert at the Majestic Theatre. One small theater has, however, already been added to the roster of Tobin resident companies.

Convergent Theater Company is not a well-known name in San Antonio, and their plan of action is uncommon, too. Helmed by Anthony Wofford, a 2007 graduate of the Juilliard School, Convergent is a group of young conservatory grads that first met when they attended San Antonio’s Churchill High School. They formed, said Wofford, in 2005 to stage small productions while on break from college. Wofford is vague on the sort of theater he plans to present, emphasizing instead the various sorts of experiences the audience will have as monthly subscribers in a plan inspired, he said, by Netflix.

“Examples of content are performances, weekly welcome parties, social events where audiences and actors get to co-create things in a very socially alive venue,” explained Wofford, who emphasized that he envisions both a local and international subscriber base, with much of the content online.

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