Submissions for the 11th annual Austin Sketch Fest are now open, and we would love to have acts from your theater and community apply! We’re welcoming all submissions for live scripted comedy: everything from sketch ensembles, weird conceptual game shows, character-based shows, to stand-up comedy, and anything in between.
Austin Sketch Fest showcases the best of Austin sketch comedy and scripted acts and stand-ups from around the country! Austin Sketch Fest is produced, booked, and organized by ColdTowne Theater. Past performers include Ego Nwodim (SNL), Amber Ruffin (Late Night with Seth Meyers), Paul F. Tomkins, James Adomian, Reductress LIVE, Asian AF (NY and LA), UCB Characters Welcome (NYC), and many more acts from NYC to Chicago to LA and everywhere in between.
The festival runs from May 20-24, 2020 (Memorial Day Weekend) at venues across Austin, Texas. Submissions are open now for $35 and will close February 15th and can be found atwww.atxsketchfest.com
Baby Lion Studios is teaming up with some of the biggest names from ColdTowne Theater and beyond to create the new sitcom Wind-Ups. Based on the 4 years showrunner and director Adam Protextor spent working at the iconic local institution Toy Joy, Wind-Ups follows a cast of six core characters as they navigate interpersonal relationships and growing older, all while working (and often playing) at an independent toy store. Breaking traditional structure, Wind-Ups’ season 1 arc is told over six episodes, each set on a different major holiday over the course of one calendar year.
“By placing each of our episodes a few months apart, you get a sort of ‘fly on the wall’ quality as we drop in on these people’s lives. Writing funny jokes is a must, but inviting our audience to see themselves reflected in our core cast is what will make them feel invested. So much can change, or sometimes stay the same, in a year and it’s fun to start to piece together what has happened with our characters in the interim as each episode unfolds,” says Stephanie Thoreson, Baby Lion co-producer and one of the show’s head writers.
Joining Thoreson in the writer’s room is an accomplished and award-winning team including fellow head writer, Ashlee Pryor-Pitluk (Super Black, Clone Squad) alongside Protextor (Bigfoot: The Musical, Hunnicut), Nathan Sowell (Angola: A Comedy, Friends For Now), and Devon Coleman (Sugar Water Purple, Hell Hole). The cast is equally as impressive and features some of Austin’s most beloved comedic actors. Yamina Khouane (2018 Best of Austin “Best Actress” winner, My Own Worst Enemy), Kenah Benefield (Sugar Water Purple, Call Me Brother), Ryan Darbonne (Sugar Water Purple, director of Angola: A Comedy), and Haley Alea Erickson (Mustang Island, The Say) join Protextor and Thoreson in the core cast, while James Fernandez (Latinauts, Latinacional), Kristie Denlinger (Porch Cat, Way Down in the Hole), Mason Pitluk (F*ck This Week, Call Me Brother), and Laura de la Fuente (Liz Behan: One Woman at Dusk, Loverboy) round out the supporting cast.
“This is an intensely personal story to me, and a project I’ve been wanting to do for 9 years. I truly believe that this show took so long to come to fruition because it was waiting for the right people to bring it there. The team we’ve assembled couldn’t speak any more loudly to the spirit of local artistic collaboration both the store and the show represent,” says Protextor.
Equally as important was finding a Director of Photography perfect for Wind-Ups. The team continued to stray away from sitcom convention when they brought on board Taylor Camarot, an award-winning DP whose creative camera moves and inventive lighting make up his signature storytelling style. Protextor says, “We know that Taylor can elevate it past ‘another sitcom’ territory into something that can be as unique, tonally thoughtful, and beautiful to look at as it is funny. We’re incredibly excited to see what he does with 6 comedians in a toy store.”
With such an incredible group of people, they needed the final piece of the puzzle – a toy store to film it all in. That’s when Protextor went back to where it all began and reached out to Toy Joy, securing the Airport Blvd. location (just a short walk from ColdTowne Theater) as the new home for Wind-Ups. In a full-circle moment, the very store that inspired the show became the place that would help bring the story to life.
Wind-Ups is currently crowdfunding on IndieGoGo to launch filming in early 2020! Visit igg.me/at/windups to become a part of their creative collective and join the Wind-Ups journey by donating or sharing their story!
Adam Protextor and Stephanie Thoreson formed Baby Lion Studios in 2018, and have since used the imprint to produce YouTube shows, live comedy shows, and promotional materials for a variety of local comedians and venues, including ColdTowne, BettyFest, Chlane, Glam Fam, and many more. Protextor is best known as a rapper and founder of Austin Mic Exchange, and has spent the past two years expanding into comedy. Stephanie Thoreson has been acting and performing sketch and improv since 2013, and is a founding member of the award-winning ColdTowne house team Loverboy. In 2019, she staged her second solo sketch show Fishbowl and toured the festival circuit to promote her starring role in the feature film Good Feels on Wheels, for which she has won three “Best Actress” awards.
Austin, TX: The award-winning, irreverent, and occasionally sacrilegious comedy team Prayer Circle is back with a new sketch show just in time for the winter holy days.
All attendees WILL be wished a Merry Christmas! Join Prayer Circle every Saturday this December for a holiday extravaganza that will leave you saying Ho Ho Holy Shit! It’s the perfect religious treason for the season. For unto you sketch comedy is born. Rated PG-17.
Ho Ho Holy Shit runs for four Saturdays November 30th to December 20th at 7:00pm at ColdTowne Theater. Tickets are $10 online and $12 at the door. For more information, contact email@example.com, call (512) 814-8696, or visit www.coldtownetheater.com. ColdTowne is BYOB/sacramental wine.
ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s main stage for alternative comedy. Running shows 7 nights a week and featuring the smartest, brightest, and hardest-working comedians in Central Texas. For phone reservations or more information, call (512) 817-TOWN, or visit www.ColdTowneTheater.com
PRESS CONTACT: Lilli Lopez, Marketing Director ColdTowne Theater firstname.lastname@example.org 956-683-5067
ColdTowne Conservatory welcomed new Faculty members in 2019
ColdTowne Conservatory is very pleased to have welcomed 6 new faculty members to our ranks this past year. ColdTowne veterans Lilli Lopez from Prima Doñas, Kim Lowery & Stephanie Thoreson from Loverboy, as well as new ColdTowners Maddie Cordovano & Tom Daily II performers transplanted from iO Theatre and The Second City in Chicago and also Haley Chamblee, ColdTowne’s new Conservatory Director have all joined our storied faculty ranks. We’re very lucky to have them!
Haley Chamblee is ColdTowne’s Conservatory Director. A graduate of ColdTowne Conservatory, Haley also serves as the registration coordinator for the annual Austin Ladies Comedy Retreat. Haley improvises with House teams Hawkeye and Porch Cat, and indie teams Lazer Squid, Ronin, and Thotties.
Maddie Cordovano trained in Chicago performing, working and coaching at both The Second City and iO Theater. Last year, she moved to Austin where she has found the joy of living in a warm place and the comfort of being part of this city’s friendly comedy community. Maddie improvises weekly in both Sweet Lightning at the Fallout, and Stool Pigeon at ColdTowne Theater.
Tom Daily II was thirteen when he started at the John Casablanca school for acting and started improvising in high school. He moved to Chicago where he studied at the Second City Training program then took iO improv classes as well as Actors Studio’s courses Screen Study and Meisner Technique. ‘IN Chicago he appeared in “Attend the Tale Of Danny Tanner: A Full House Musical”. Once back in Houston, he performed with Station Theatre’s CAN’T TELL US NOTHING on stages all around Texas. And this year, he joined ColdTowne house team and B.Iden Payne winner of 2019 Best Improv Troupe, Sugar Water Purple.
Lilli Lopez is known for her performance in Latinauts: Improvised Telenovelas, a 2019 Austin Critics Table Award winner and 2017 B. Iden Payne Award’s (Outstanding Improv Production, Outstanding Cast [Improvised Show], and Outstanding Direction. Lilli also co-directed Latinauts: Wrath of Juan and LatiNacional, which just won 2019’s Best Improv Production, as well as a co-Directing win for Lilli. She also directed and hosted The Rose: Trouble in Paradise at ColdTowne. She is ColdTowne’s Marketing Director as well as an actor and teaching artist with the Paramount Theater Story Wranglers, and a producer of BettyFest, an annual all-women comedy festival. Lilli holds a masters degree in mass communication from the Manship School at Louisiana State University, where she researched nonprofit communication strategy.
Kim Lowery is on the Community Board of ColdTowne Theater where she graduated in 2015 from the Conservatory and from the inaugural class of the Advanced Studies Program in 2016. Additionally, Kim is one of the producers of BettyFest ATX, an annual all-women and non-binary comedy festival that celebrates the diverse voices empowering the Austin comedy community. You can see Kim perform every Friday night at 8:30 at ColdTowne Theater in one of Austin’s best comedy shows with Loverboy improv.
Stephanie Thoreson is the winner of Hill Country Film Fest’s “Best Actress” award and ColdTowne Theater’s “Best Character Performer” award. She is on the Board of Directors for BettyFest. You can see Stephanie every Friday night at ColdTowne Theater performing with the award-winning all-women improv troupe Loverboy, named by Thrillist as one of the best comedy shows in Austin. Stephanie graduated ColdTowne Conservatory in 2015.
We’re thrilled to have these artists and veterans of ColdTowne Conservatory faculty. To sign up for classes or view class details and offerings, visit
Y’all, we are so excited for the Austin Film Festival this year (October 24th – 31st) but don’t take our word for it. Take it from ColdTowne hero, Lane Ingram (1/2 of the married duo CHLANE), who starred in an early promo for the fest (sorry Lane, can’t ever resist posting this. You’re so good!!).
We’re especially excited to be partnering with the fest this year after collaborating with them on events like First Three Pages Live at ColdTowne, in which writers showcase the first three pages of a script-in-progress with the help of performances from local talent. We’ll be clueing y’all into some of the ways ColdTowne will be involved with the fest later on this week. For now though, we want to take a minute and highlight a few of the indie films we’re most excited to see this year.
Man Camp a film by Dan Cummings and Scott Kruse
Playing Thursday, October 24th at 7:10 PM – Alamo Drafthouse Village Tuesday, October 29th at 5:30 PM – Galaxy Highland, Theater 6
Synopsis Years after losing their father as kids, 3 man-children defend the family legacy by putting their mom’s new fiancee through an epic gauntlet of manhood at their dad’s old cabin.
Why We’re Pumped Mention men-children having to face themselves for real and you’ve got our attention. Make their journey funny and full of heart (okay, but mostly funny) and you’ve got us checking dates and times. Also! The filmmaker, Daniel Cummings, will be performing with Stool Pigeon as their monologist on October 27th at 8:30 PM. As always, Stool Pigeon is free and BYOB!
The Planters a film by Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder
Playing Friday, October 25th at 9:30 PM – State Theater Wednesday, October 30th at 3:45 PM – Alamo Drafthouse Village
Synopsis Martha lives a solitary existence planting buried treasure and attempting to sell air conditioners until she takes in Sadie and her multiple personalities.
Why We’re Pumped Everything about this trailer is a vibe, from the desert landscape and dreamy costumes, to the opposites-attract adventure duo and funky, surprising claymation. If that wasn’t enough, the two leads also make up *the entirety* of the film’s crew, handling the sound, costumes, directing, producing, and starring roles themselves. The creative control — swoon. We can’t wait to see how it all comes together.
The VICE Guide to Bigfoot a film by Zach Lamplugh and Brian Emond
Playing Friday, October 25th at 9 PM – Alamo Drafthouse Village (WORLD PREMIERE) Tuesday, October 29th at 9:15 PM – Galaxy Highland, Theater 5
When a jaded VICE clickbait reporter is sent to the Appalachian foothills to follow a cryptozoologist on the trail of Bigfoot, he’s forced to answer the question, “is a good story worth dying for?”
Why We’re Pumped
An early review of the film (which makes its official debut at this year’s fest), sites it as “a fun little trip for fans of Adult Swim’s weirder stuff.” Bingo! The venn diagram between me and this film is now a circle.
I’ve Got Issues a film by Steve Collins
Playing Friday, October 25th at 10 PM – Rollins Theater (WORLD PREMIERE) Wednesday, October 30th at 9:45 PM – State Theater
Synopsis A quirky comedic collage of intertwining stories about characters swallowed in darkness, yet still finding hope.
Why We’re Pumped Girl, this cast is stacked. Jim Gaffigan makes the cut, but more interestingly (to us) are performances from local legends and ColdTowne friends John Merriman, Byron Brown, and Sam Eidson. It’s also an official selection of the festival. John Merriman will be the guest monologist telling dating + love stories for Loverboy on Friday, 10/16!
That’s it for now. Make sure to grab your pass or badge before the festival kicks off Thursday, October 24th!