When Elizabeth V. Newman and Stephanie Moore met, neither one anticipated founding a theatre company together. But all the hard work paid off and Austin-based Filigree Theater came to be. With Newman as Artistic Director and Moore as Managing Director, the women-led artistic group has produced several critically-acclaimed shows. Newman and Moore have worked diligently to shine light on Austin’s visual and performing arts that go beyond the music our city is known for.
Playdates Turn Into Plays
Newman had always humored the idea of opening her own theatre. But she never imagined a chance meeting with a fellow single mother, Moore, would make her vision a reality. Playdates and coffee soon evolved into a serious effort to open a theatre. Their friendship translated to an equally healthy working relationship.
Both Newman and Moore have backgrounds in theatre. Before Filigree, Newman spent time in New York, Los Angeles, and Canada, expanding her directing and producing prowess. Those experiences, she said, taught her “first-hand the ups and downs of small theatre in different locales.”
Meanwhile, Moore was gaining her chops in the film industry. She spent time as first assistant director and producer of several short films, music videos, and web series.
When the two met, their mutual love for the performing arts quickly formed a bond. They began writing up a business plan and settled on the name Filigree.
The name, which refers to a delicate type of jewelry metalwork made with twisted threads, resonates with both of their goals: to grow creative projects and nurture artists, as well as connect artists to larger theatre communities across the country.
Connecting Past, Present, and Future
What’s special about Filigree Theatre’s programming is Newman and Moores’ creative take on the plays they produce. Truly embodying the meaning of “filigree,” they’ve chosen works that weave together the rich history of theatre, bring present-day playwrights’ works to life, and plant seeds for the future of theatrical performance.
The seasons are structured to reflect this philosophy. With the theatre’s opening in Fall 2017, the debut show brought Harold Pinters’ “Betrayal” to life, a nod to the rich history of theatre. The following winter, the focus turned to the present, with a production from a playwright who is living and working today: Anna Ziegler’s “A Delicate Ship.” Spring 2018 will feature new work by Sheila Crowley, titled “Trio” (April 26-May 6, 2018).
Newman and Moore pride themselves on not being an actor-driven theatre. Instead, they believe their three-show seasons keep bringing audiences back for more. Rather than creating shows that are suitable for particular actors, they choose shows that offer opportunity for any talented actor. Because of this model, Newman and Moore are always eager to meet new talent.
Future of Filigree Theatre
Newman and Moore hold workshops and recently started an internship and volunteer program. These are both valuable opportunities for anyone who wants hands-on experience helping run a theatre company.
Filigree Theatre’s debut show, “Betrayal,” was received with enthusiasm and positive reviews. With this success and powerhouse leaders at the helm, Austin’s local theatre company has a promising future. Less than a year old, Filigree Theatre is on its way to becoming a known name in our creative community.
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