Room to Move: Costumes used by Austin’s theater groups find a new home

Published 6:26 am Saturday, March 30, 2019

In the basement of what was once home to the Knights of Columbus, hangers filled with costumes and accessories of all kinds are lined in neat rows.

There are costumes with medieval themes, military themes, mobster themes and a host of other themes hanging in rows that seem to go on and on.

These are the costumes of Austin’s theater scene and they have found a new home.

Email newsletter signup

Jennifer Wiebrand weaves her way through the rows of costumes and as she goes, she talks about the new changes.

It becomes very clear that she’s thrilled with the new digs.

“This has been a godsend,” she exclaimed.

Thanks to the purchase of the Knights of Columbus Hall, costumes by the various theater groups in town are much more organized.

Prior to this move, many of the costumes, which are slowly becoming a consolidation between Matchbox Children’s Theatre, Riverland Theatre and Summerset Theatre, were housed in a much smaller building on Oakland Avenue West.

The cramped space made organization a difficult proposition.

That isn’t the case with the Knights of Columbus Hall, which offers two floors to house costumes and props.

Wiebrand explained that the search for the new building began last year. When they were shown the Knights’ hall there wasn’t much time wasted.

“We looked at it and jumped on it,” Wiebrand said. “It’s close to the Paramount and it has plenty of space.”

Ownership of the new building was taken over on Aug. 1 and those involved made quick use of the space.

Not only does the downstairs served the purpose of housing costumes and props, but the upstairs offers a space for prop and scene construction. Tape marks out the dimensions of the stage at the Paramount Theatre so work can be done in the hall with those involved knowing that it will fit the Paramount when it gets there.

The top floor of the Knights of Columbus Hall lends to a space where props can be constuctured.

“We know where set pieces go and the actors can get a better idea of where they are on stage,” Wiebrand said.

Now that things have been transferred to the new building, the groups can now start looking towards some common goals. One of those is the completion of consolidating costumes into one place.

“We’re still working on getting Riverland over here and we have an inventory system, we just have to get it in place,” Wiebrand said. “We’ll have a photo gallery of all of our pieces so different people can see what they are looking for and of course, we can keep better track of everything.”

There’s also a goal of some fun things left to be done with the hall itself.

“Our goal is to do some dinner theater, host summer camps,” Wiebrand said. “Tools to fundraise for costumes.”