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ZACH Theatre to Furlough Majority of Staff

ZACH Theatre announces additional cancellations and staffing changes in wake of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.



With the loss of multiple shows this season, ZACH Theatre is forced to furlough 75 percent of employees to temper the loss in revenue. Furloughed employees will continue to receive 100 precent of their current health benefits from the organization. Remaining staff will work on reduced salaries with leadership taking the largest cut, preparing for the return of programming this summer and producing virtual content to connect with the community until performances resume.

A statement from ZACH Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley and Managing Director Elisbeth Challener explains how this unprecedented situation affects ZACH’s staff and future:

“Last week we made the difficult decision to cancel four of our season shows, our spring break camps, student performances, postpone our annual fundraiser Red, Hot & Soul, and pause our subscription campaign. The financial impact of these cancellations has had a profound effect on our organization as a whole and the way we will need to operate for the time being.

“With this immediate and unexpected loss in revenue, we’ve had to make the heart-wrenching decision to temporarily furlough 75 percent of ZACH employees. A small team will remain on, at reduced salaries, to continue the essential operations until we are able to reinstate our staff. We will continue to cover 100 percent of our furloughed staff’s current health benefits during this time.

“While we are doing everything we can to support these employees in the coming months, they do not deserve this. The ZACH staff work with a passion, creativity, and dedication that is unmatched and delivering this news to them is the low point of our careers. The most important thing is that our staff have a home to return to and the best way we can assure that is to make hard choices now, so ZACH can make a strong and vibrant return this summer.

“The perseverance of the Austinites who founded our city’s theatre during the height of the Depression had the courage and forbearance to create a home for artists, and we are inspired in this crisis to live up to their example. We will do everything in our power to continue to be a creative home for our neighbors, educate Austin’s youth, and above all else: create exceptional theatre.”

If you would like to show your support now, please visit to make a donation. All funds will help ensure the return of ZACH artists and employees this summer. Any contribution is greatly appreciated.

Postponements now include ZACH’s annual gala, Red, Hot & Soul (previously May 2). Previously announced cancellations include all performances of Every Brilliant Thing; Roe; The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show; Somebody Love You, Mr. Hatch, and Spring Break Camps.

Streaming performances of Every Brilliant Thing were available to subscribers and new purchasers through March 29. Shortly ZACH will make last fall’s hit musical for the family, Tortoise and Hare by Allen Robertson available for in-home viewing. In addition, ZACH will continue to work to add more family-friendly streaming content in the coming weeks. All ZACH Education programs have moved their Spring classes online beginning April 1.


  • Roe (Canceled, all performances)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show (Canceled, all performances)
  • Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch (Canceled, all performances)
  • Spring Break Camps (Canceled)
  • Red, Hot & Soul (Postponed. New date to be announced)
  • ZACH Academy (Postponed. Will resume online beginning April 1)
  • Classes (Postponed. Will resume online beginning April 1)


  • Reunion ‘85 (May 27–June 28)
  • The Sound of Music (July 15–September 6)
  • Summer Camps (Scheduled to begin June 1)


  • Apply the value of your ticket as a tax-deductible donation to the organization, which will be used to support ZACH artists and employees affected by these cancellations.
  • Exchange your tickets for a future ZACH performance in the 2019–20 season.
  • Exchange your tickets for a ZACH gift card of the same value.

To request one of these options or a refund, contact ZACH at Please allow time for a response.

As this situation evolves, ZACH will communicate clearly and directly about their plans and activities so they can continue to offer world class theater in the safest possible environment.

Find more information and updated cancellation notices at

ZACH’s staff and artists’ hearts go out to all those in the community and around the world who are being impacted by this epidemic.

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october 2021