Friday, August 17, 2012

Austin Live Theatre 2011-2012 Report to the Austin Creative Alliance

Austin Live Theatre

Austin's Live Theatre and ALT in 2011 - 2012
a report to the Austin Creative Alliance

by Michael Meigs


Michael Meigs
Michael Meigs (Alison Yin Photography)
This observatory of live narrative theatre in Austin began just over four years ago as a simple blog. Karen and I had retired from Washington DC and points abroad and relocated to this mid-sized capital and university town where we didn't know a soul. As we settled in and surveyed the city, we realized that there was a lot more to Austin that its touted status as a 'Live Music Capital.' Austin had a lively and largely unpublicized theatre culture. We set out to explore it, and in June of 2008, I set up a blog that is still active.

I went into my 'live theatre' project with work habits and thinking patterns shaped by a diplomatic career of investigating unfamiliar environments, gathering data, evaluating and reporting. I had all the time I wanted; I was newly independent and no longer part of a large institution, The undertaking was initially a pastime, but the more I learned, the more I could see that needed to be explored. Thanks to a Christmas surprise from my family, I found myself with a .com site and flexible open-source website administration software, a whole new intellectual toy to play with. The technological wizardry of the Internet had so reduced the barriers to entry that in short order I was producing my own on-line publication.

Statistics given below were gathered for the period January, 2011 to July 31, 2012.


My first concern was the apparent lack of media coverage for the rich and varied theatre world in Austin. On a typical weekend Austin had eight or ten productions going on, sometimes even more. Many of them were never reviewed. I've written 488 reviews of live narrative theatre in Austin since that time (57 in 2008; 158 in 2009; 120 in 2010; 113 in 2011; and 40 so far in 2012). Since 2010 I have signaled the publication of new reviews via Twitter at @ALTcom.

I've welcomed guest reviewers but have not had very many. I would welcome submissions from anyone who would like to be published at Austin Live Theatre. Prospective contributors can register on the front page and use the internal editor to submit texts or they can send them to me at

I monitor Austin theatre reviews and promptly post links to them on the relevant 'upcoming' page for the production.

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