The History of ColdTowne: Michael Jastroch, Arthur Simone, and Justin York evacuated New Orleans in September 2005 and landed in Austin, where the improv community was already strong and gaining momentum. A local video store owner allowed ColdTowne to launch a Chicago-style long-form improv training center (the first of its kind in Austin) next door to his establishment.
Soon, ColdTowne was given the opportunity to produce shows at the space. Thanks to the success of see.hear.speak. (a three-day film, art, and comedy event), ColdTowne was given an “audition” to produce shows at a venue for a week. Test Pattern was a success and the group immediately began plans for the grand opening of The ColdTowne Theater.
Joined by their friends of the award winning improv troupe The Frank Mills [Rachel Madorsky, Dave Buckman, Erika May McNichol and Bob McNichol] ColdTowne Theater opened on October 28th, 2006, to a packed audience and ready to teach improv classes to hundreds of aspiring comedians and improvisers.
ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s main stage for alternative comedy, featuring the funniest comedians in Central Texas. Until 2020, the theater offered shows 7 days a week featuring all forms of comedy: improv, stand-up, sketch, film, music, and much more. Nationally recognized acts perform here as well as the best local performers. ColdTowne Theater also runs a conservatory offering the most fun acting, improv and sketch classes Austin has to offer.
Like many arts and performance organizations across the country, ColdTowne was hit hard by 2020 and COVID-19. We not only lost the ability to produce live shows and classes for an extended period of time, but we also lost the lease to the black box theater that we called home for 15 years. Since 2021, we have been fortunate to partner with a handful of local rented venues for shows and classes and keep things moving.
Right now, ColdTowne is in a critical period where we have an opportunity to rebuild in an entirely new space. We have big dreams of outfitting our new theater with brand-new amenities to serve our students, performers, and audience members. It’s an ambitious undertaking, and we need your support. In the next couple of months, we’ll be launching a fundraising campaign in order to bring this dream to life. With your help, we can do this right and create a new physical space to house the laughter, learning, and bits we all know and love. You can support the cause by signing up for classes, going to shows, supporting us on Patreon, or donating to our Paypal. Stay tuned for more updates, and thank you for your support!
CLICK HERE for information on our COVID-19 exposure protocols.
ColdTowne Ownership includes (from left to right) Rachel Madorsky, Dave Buckman, and Tauri Laws-Phillips. Justin York (not in the photo) is our beloved out of state partner.
Tauri Laws-Phillips (She/Her)