VORTEX Repertory Company (established 1988) has made some significant changes and additions to its management, staff, and Board of Directors, and we have a new logo to celebrate our Season of Metamorphoses. We are gearing up for our big 25th Birthday in January, and we are so excited about all of this that we thought it was time for a press release about our big changes.
Managing Director: In May, long-time VORTEX company artist, Melissa Vogt-Patterson, joined the administrative staff and this summer, became our new Managing Director. Melissa first appeared on The VORTEX stage in 2003 and has starred in numerous productions. She received B. Iden Payne Awards for her leading role in Vampyress in 2005 and her ensemble role in Wake for the Dark Poet in 2004. Other notable VORTEX work includes Sing Muse, EARTH, :Humpty, Beirut, The Dragonfly Princess, Pink Sun, Bell(e), hOle, and Pythia Dust, garnering Melissa many B. Iden Payne Nominations for Excellence. Melissa holds a B.F.A. in Acting from Texas State University and worked for several years in New York where she toured professionally with Chamber Theatre Productions. She has also toured with The North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. In addition to her vast artistic experience, Melissa has many years of experience in business administration, sales, and marketing, and was Artistic Director of One Shot Productions in NYC.
Business Manager: In September, former VORTEX Administrator Krystle Kelley, returned to Austin to re-join The VORTEX team as Business Manager. Krystle is currently polishing her thesis for her M.A. in Archaeology from Texas Tech University. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. She began working at The VORTEX in 2010, making substantial upgrades to VORTEX’s bookkeeping and accounting systems. We are thrilled to have her back in The VORTEX.
President of the Board: Dr. Heather Barfield joined the VORTEX Board of Directors as President in September. Heather has been a VORTEX company member for 23 years. She received her Ph.D. in Performance as Public Practice from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds a M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a B.A. in Anthropology from UT. She is Chief Financial Officer/Business Director for Austin Creative Alliance and VORTEX’s Associate Artistic Director. Heather's numerous theatrical credits include creation and direction of VORTEX’s Wake for the Dark Poet (B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Production of a Drama in 2004) and her direction of Machinal for VORTEX’s Summer Youth Theatre (B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Production of Theatre for Youth in 1999). She has performed locally in numerous critically acclaimed shows including VORTEX’s Dark Goddess, Rude Mech’s Dionysus in '69, and Rubber Repertory’s The Casket of Passing Fancy. She has been an arts writer for The Austin Chronicle and a contributing member of the Austin Critics’ Table. As an Austin native with a strong background in the local and national theatre scene, Heather is the ideal person to head up the VORTEX Board.
Vice President of the Board: VORTEX Company Member, Shannon Stennis, also joined the Board as Vice President in September. In addition to his artistic and technical contributions to VORTEX since 1995, he has been The VORTEX computer support person for more than a decade. He has extensive professional experience with Apple, IBM, Convio, Marathon Kids, Cathexis Partners, and Oracle, with expertise in on-line fundraising, customer service, training, and trouble-shooting. Shannon brings his years of computer experience and love of The VORTEX to the Board. He will provide expertise on The VORTEX’s first-ever crowd-sourced fundraising endeavors for the essential new lighting system for the theatre.
Butterfly Bar Managers: After many years of challenges with city regulations and permitting, VORTEX finally received a Full Mixed Beverage permit at the end of March. In April, VORTEX was pleased to promote long-time Butterfly Bar staff, Katherine Smith and Mark Vazquez, to Bar Managers. Katherine and Mark make a strong team, who along with the friendliest group of bartenders and barbacks in Austin, have anchored The Butterfly Bar @The VORTEX as a welcoming destination 7 nights a week on bustling Manor Road. As an integral part of The VORTEX, the programming inside and outdoors at The Butterfly Bar includes swing bands and dancing, Trivia Tuesdays, happy hour rock bands, contemporary tango, birthday and office parties, and commedia and puppetry on the outside stage. The Butterfly Bar @The VORTEX is open from 5pm-Midnight, and until 1am on Saturdays.
Patrizi’s: Nic Patrizi, owner of the already popular food truck, The Jalopy, brought great Italian food to the Yard of The VORTEX in May. Open 7 nights a week, with the same hours as the bar, Patrizi’s finished out the corner of The VORTEX with a food truck, a sheltered outdoor restaurant destination, landscaping, and art, and people are flocking to The VORTEX to enjoy this delicious food. With fresh, local ingredients, and delicious pasta made fresh with each order, this unique jewel offers some of the best Italian food in Austin.
Tech Booth: At the beginning of October, VORTEX renovated its original, vintage 1994 tech booth in preparation for a new lighting system. With new electrical panel, new outlets, new floors, ceilings, walls, shelves, and table, this booth is much safer and more comfortable for technicians and is ready to receive equipment upgrades as soon as we raise the money!
New Logo: Finally, The VORTEX has a brand new logo, crafted by award-winning scenic designer Ann Marie Gordon. Ann Marie demonstrates her exceptional skills in calligraphy and graphics in this new swirl for VORTEX’s present and future (see below). She is well known for her scenic designs throughout the Austin theatre company, especially as resident scenic designer for The VORTEX. Ann Marie has received B. Iden Payne Awards for her designs of VORTEX’s Sarah Silver Hands, Sleeping Beauty, St. Enid and the Black Hand, The Deluge, and Despair’s Book of Dreams and the Sometime Radio.
25th Birthday Party: Look for the new logo on an all-new T-Shirt January 10-11th at VORTEX’s 25th Birthday Extravaganza. VORTEX artists will be performing diverse programming on both nights celebrating the past, present, and future of The VORTEX. VORTEX’s fundraising for the new lighting system will launch at this time as we ask our many friends and supporters to give VORTEX a 25th Birthday present.
26th season of Metamorphosis: This diverse season includes dance, romantic comedy, hip-hop theatre, devised work, political poetics, chamber opera, video with live music, W.B Yeats, Summer Youth Theatre, a fantasy film debut, and ritual theatre. The VORTEX’s amazing artistic season began with Toni Bravo’s extraordinary dance theatre piece, Perchance to Dream. We are currently presenting emerging playwright Reina Hardy’s new romantic comedy, Stars and Barmen through mid-November. Hardy is a Michener Fellow at UT, pursuing her MFA in playwriting, and we look forward to producing her work in the future. We continue in December with The Holiday Hip-Hop Theatre Explosion, a family-friendly show with original work embracing holiday themes and hip-hop culture, and we are once again offering a Yule Bazaar during the day on December 21-22 for locally-crafted holiday gifts. We will celebrate our 25th Birthday on January 10-11, followed by the Austin debut of WK, conceived and directed by the inspired hand of Katherine Wilkinson and fresh from the New Orleans Fringe Festival. We then present Xenogia’s new poetic work, Riot or Revolution, featuring Zell Miller III and DaShade Moonbeam, in February. In April, we debut a workshop production of David DeMaris’ chamber opera featuring physics and music, For Fear the Glass May Shatter, which will also be a part of the Fusebox Festival. Electronic Planet Ensemble presents an all new video and music event, Ran•dom Sen•so•ry Re•gen•er•a•tion in May. In June, look for Lorella Loftus’s new adaptation of William Butler Yeats’ Cuchulain Cycle of Plays. This summer, we offer the 22nd year of our award-winning, tuition-free Summer Youth Theatre. In August, we present the world premiere of ethos’ fantasy film and environmental parable, Octia of the Pink Ocean. Our abundant season of new work culminates in September with the final installment of The Elementals series, SPIRIT, conceived and directed by Bonnie Cullum and developed by the ensemble.
See you in The VORTEX!