Elizabeth V. Newman and Stephanie Moore, co-founders of The Filigree Theatre, talk about life in the spotlight.
By Lauren Jones, Photo by Riley Krauss
Elizabeth V. Newman and Stephanie Moore are the women behind Austin’s Filigree Theatre. Friends and colleagues, they work in tandem to produce shows that highlight Austin’s collective of artists, and connect theater’s past with the present and its future. While the pair has worked on each coast, they agree Austin has a particularly alluring charm.
“What’s wonderful and unique is that there is a community here that is very tight-knit and supportive,” Newman says. “People legitimately wish each other well and support one another. It’s a special mindset here in Austin.”
Austin is known as the live music capital of the world, but Newman and Moore are turning the spotlight on other visual and performing artists, such as actors, filmmakers and dancers.
“We want everyone to take notice,” Newman says.
Both women have backgrounds in theater. A Yale graduate, Newman has produced critically acclaimed shows in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, while Moore recently co-produced a show with Newman in Los Angeles.
For Newman, the idea to open a theater had always been lingering, but it wasn’t until she met Moore that it became a reality. Both single mothers with young children, the women were introduced by a mutual friend. What began as meeting for coffee and playing with their children at the park led to an equally enjoyable working relationship. For Newman, meeting Moore couldn’t have been more serendipitous.
The two bonded about their love of theater and began writing a business plan, deciding on the name Filigree, which means both “thread” and “seed” in Latin. The name encapsulates Newman and Moore’s mission of connecting Austin artists with those from throughout the country.
The Filigree Theatre had its opening show in September, Betrayal, written by Harold Pinter, which was met with overwhelming applause.
“With such an accomplished first production under its belt, we can only hope to see continued work of such quality and excitement as Filigree Theatre continues to make itself known throughout Austin,” says Andrew J. Friedenthal, a writer for austin360.com.
Newman and Moore are currently working on the Filigree’s winter show, A Delicate Ship, a play the two are excited to watch come to life onstage.
When it comes to casting, they have a unique process.
“We are not an actor-driven theater,” Newman says. “The three-show season is set by theme (past, present and future), which creates conversion with the audience. Instead of being wedded to shows that are great for casting particular actors, we pick the shows and have auditions more like the process for film casting.”
The women also regularly host workshops to further immerse themselves in Austin’s theater world.
“[Workshops are] a great way to connect the community at large here in Austin and get to know new talent,” Newman says.
So, what do Newman and Moore do when they are not working on their next show?
Moore, the quiet managing director, prefers to decompress by sitting down with a good book, while Newman loves diving headfirst into all the city has to offer.
“I watch everything from high-level student productions to improv, sketch comedy, musicals to teeny independent shows,” Newman says. “I am fortunate to have a pretty good sense of the theater community in Austin.”
For performance dates and ticket information, visit filigreetheatre.com.