A Junior League of Austin Community Partner spotlight.
The ZACH Theatre has been an Austin landmark since 1932, supporting local talent and setting the stage for family traditions for decades. A fan favorite of The Junior League of Austin (JLA) community volunteer placements, JLA has supported ZACH Theatre for eight years. And even amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the show must go on.
Volunteering at the ZACH Theatre
As a volunteer at ZACH Theatre through my League placement for the 2019-2020 year, It immediately became apparent to me that community volunteer support is required to run the show. Each performance would literally not be possible without a host of volunteers including greeters, ticket takers, ushers, stage managers and more—a majority of which are JLA members!
With each performance, it also became apparent how many of the actors, musicians, stage crew and full-time staff’s livelihoods rely on the donations and support from the Austin community. The staff’s passion for sharing the arts with the Austin community is tangible from the second you are greeted at the theater doors, and is evident by their encouragement to sing along, cheer, dance and even wave glow sticks in the audience during the performances.
What could make this volunteer opportunity even more fun?
Getting the chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the shows! ZACH Theatre volunteers are graciously rewarded for their time by being given the opportunity to attend many of the performances. During my time as a volunteer, I experienced the jaw-dropping productions of “Dracula,” “A Night With Janis Joplin,” and everyone’s holiday favorite, “A Christmas Carol.”
ZACH Theatre’s Children’s Programming
What many people in the community may not be aware of are the number of children’s plays performed each week for Austin-area elementary schools. Kids from local school districts are introduced to the performing arts (and theater etiquette!) by attending ZACH’s children’s plays such as “Jungalbook,” “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch,” many of which feature students from the theater’s very own ZACH Academy.
ZACH’s more intimate venues The Kleburg and The Wisenhunt provide the perfect setting for these interactive performances, which are also open to the community on the weekends.
How COVID-19 Has Affected the ZACH Theatre
The COVID-19 pandemic forced ZACH Theatre to temporarily close its curtains in March 2020, but the show must go on, so they’ve gotten creative.
The fall 2020-2021 season opener is currently slated to be a unique socially distanced outdoor experience, and the lineup for the rest of the season includes “The Rocky Horror Show,” “The Sound of Music” and “Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat” with dates to be determined.
Currently, tickets are on sale for a variety of virtual camps and classes for children and master classes, which give attendees the opportunity to learn directly from industry professionals like Broadway cast members of “Disney’s Frozen.” Previously only accessible to ZACH’s Pre-Professional, Conservatory, and Academy students, these classes are now just a click away!
Tickets are also now on sale for this year’s upcoming “Red, Hot & Soul – In The House” live-stream benefit event on September 26, which will undoubtedly help raise much-needed funding during this unprecedented time.
After experiencing firsthand the positive impact the ZACH Theatre directly makes on our community and knowing they will need our support more than ever once they are able to resume operations, I encourage you to consider volunteer opportunities with this JLA community partner once their doors reopen.
You can also visit their support page to learn more about how to make donations for their online programs and future shows.
About the Writer: Krystin Gresham has lived in Austin for six years and is a third-year member of The Junior League of Austin. She’s enjoyed serving children in Del Valle ISD through FIT, volunteering with our community partner ZACH Theatre, and building friendships during her time in the League. Krystin works in the tech industry and loves traveling with her husband, playing golf, learning to cook, and cheering on the Fightin’ Texas Aggie football team!