Jump-Start Theater's Lease Expiring, Blue Star Looking Forward
For about the last 20 years the Jump-Start Performance Company could been seen on stage at the Blue Star Arts Complex, but now they are looking for a new home.
Jump-Start started producing it’s cutting-edge performances at the Blue Star’s theater space before there were First Fridays, before there was a Southtown scene.
That scene is now about to be without its most theatrical presence.
Jump-Start's 15-year lease at the Blue Star Arts Complex expires in September, but they have been given until January 2014 to find a new home.
"We went ahead and renegotiated," said Lisa Suarez, Jump-Start’s producing director. "We did go talk to him [Blue Star owner James Lifshutz*]. I was hoping he would give us the year that we’d asked for last year since we’ve been operating under that assumption. He did not and gave us an added four months – well, through January," Suarez said.
Suarez said when the time came to negotiate a new lease she was told Lifshutz decided not to renew.
Lifshutz said he believed Jump-Start was losing traction, a perception that partially influenced his decision.
"In the wake of losing their very talented playwright, Sterling Houston, five or six years ago and then the departure of Steve Baily - their creative director and executive director several years later - I and others had been wondering whether they were going to find new creative traction and I don’t feel like they did," said Lifshutz.
He said his plans for the space will include a multi-purpose venue for theater and live music.
"I want it to be open to multiple theater companies and their supporters, practitioners, and audiences," Lifshutz said.
As for Jump-Start, Suarez said they’ve been approached by several people with potential offers and are not ruling anything out.
"We’re hoping that we do get a space that has performance, rehearsal space, as well as studio/office so that we are also able to use it to make it accessible to other community arts organizations or groups that aren’t able to afford their own space.
Jump-Start may also work as a traveling company.
*Disclosure Note: James Lifshutz is a board member of Texas Public Radio.