FronteraFest cancels segment of festival after theater shuttered by city inspectors

The Long Fringe portion of FronteraFest, Austin’s indie theater festival, has been cancelled, festival organizers announced last night.

Ground Floor Theatre — where the Long Fringe was to have opened this week — has been shuttered by city officials.

Lisa Scheps said that a recent surprise inspection by the Austin Fire Department revealed that theater had never been issued a certificate of occupancy, meaning the venue had never been officially inspected for safety and code compliance.

Scheps opened the 130-seat theater in December 2014 after finishing out 4,500-square-feet of raw space in a large warehouse at 979 Springdale Road.

Last week, Ground Floor Theatre posted to its Facebook page its need for a staircase that was code compliant.

Ground Floor Theatre
Ground Floor Theatre

“We hope to be open as soon as we can and we’re doing everything we can,” said Scheps on Friday. “We know this is affecting many (theater) companies.”

The Long Fringe, which features new plays that are 45 minutes or longer, was orginally scheduled for Jan. 18-31.

Ticket holders and participating theater artists will receive full refunds, said FronteraFest co-producers Christina Moore and Ken Webster said in statement.

“We are asking everyone to please monitor the Hyde Park Theatre website  as some Long Fringe participants have opted to become BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) shows, and we will be posting those updates as they become available.”

FronteraFest’s Short Fringe — with nightly showcases of short acts — will continue at Hyde Park Theatre through Feb. 13

Owned by developer Peter Barlin, 979 Springdale Road is in the process of being converted from warehouse to a mixed-use entertainment destination. Brewing company East Ciders and climbing gym Austin Bouldering Project are among the new businesses that have opened at the sprawling facility.

Author: Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman. She writes about visual art, theater, dance, music, performance, public art, architecture and just about any combination thereof.

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