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Austin's ZACH Theatre is on the path to rebuilding as it plans to rehire and reimburse staff using its $2.6 million Shuttered Venue Operators Grant after reducing salaries during the pandemic.


The theatre, which has been a South Lamar staple since 1932, said they will reimburse the salaries for the 21 full-time employees after cutting them by 10-25% over the course of the pandemic. According to a press release, each employee will get their wages paid back to them.

The company, which normally hosts plays and musicals year round but was battered hard by the pandemic, is also looking to hire 56% of the staff that was let go during COVID.

After a very tough year for the entertainment industry, the SVOG grant was allocated $16 billion from Congress as venues similar to ZACH lost their customers due to COVID protocols. According to the Small Business Administration, $12.5 billion has been requested and so far $8.7 billion has been awarded so far.

An SBA report says about 90 venues have received funding so far, including ZACH Theatre, and more than 3,000 applications have been denied. SBA closed applications for the grant on Friday.

Though SVOG applications are closed, SBA said it "may reopen the portal or make other adjustments to its plan to best meet the needs of small businesses." The agency also said it will open applications for supplemental grants later, for those who have already received an initial grant later this month.

With new funds and new employees, ZACH Theatre recently announced its 2021-2022 season lineup as they look to bounce back. The season starts on September 29 with a performance of "Into the Woods."

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Sample some spirits
When: 11:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Where: Desert Door, 211 Darden Hill Rd. Driftwood
What: Attend Desert Door Distillery’s first Explorer Series of 2022. Guests will be able to sample Caliber on its own or in a delicious cocktail.

Eat some chili
When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sagebrush, 5500 S. Congress Ave.
What: Enjoy great chili and great music at the 14th Annual Chili Cold Blood Chili Cook-Off. All proceeds will be donated to Health Alliance for Austin Musicians in memory of Nick Curran.

Enjoy some local art
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel St.
What: The Neil-Cochran House Museum will host a multi-media art exhibition by Austin artist Nell Gottlieb, titled “Land as Persona: An Artist’s Journey.” Gottlieb works in multiple media to reexamine her coming of age, white and female in the Jim Crow South.

Catch some improv comedy
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: GameOn! ATX, 1515 Dungan Ln.
What: ColdTowne ThrowDowne is an improv comedy tournament between troupes that will take place in front of a live studio audience and streamed live to the world on Twitch.

Catch a Johnny Cash-style show
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Georgetown Palace Theatre, 810 S. Austin Ave.
What: Experience music history with a unique musical about love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and the healing power of home and family set to the tune of the legendary Johnny Cash.