Ann Pittman Zárate
strange bird


I grew up in the theatre. My dad was a director, and I spent most evenings at the historic Missouri Theatre peering through the cigarette haze, watching actors nod and smoke as my father gave notes on the evening's performance. Of course, that was back when cigarettes were fashionably fastened to any artist's fingers, and children of artsy parents weren't given strict bedtimes or taught to judge the people around them. I traced ornate ceiling and carpet patterns as I ran the rake of the theatre aisles and scaled the stairs to the farthest balconies. I memorized faces and noises and body language - anything an actor offered their character, I absorbed.  I kept a diary of autographs from actors, and made up my own skits, and forced kids in my neighborhood to perform for 10 cents a show in my backyard. 

Fast forward twenty years and I was an overworked, underpaid pastor (what?) running a young adult ministry and an experiential worship service. But when the church found out about my theatre background and about a little dream I had for a dusty old storage quadrant, they revised my job description, gave me some money, and held their breath. 
Sure enough, a black box theatre was birthed on the fourth floor of a Baptist church (how very European) home to Trinity Street Players theatre troupe and a cherished venue to the Austin theatre scene. "Black box suggests a void, perhaps one that's wrapped in mystery.  A better reference for this long-running Theatre Ministry might be 'jewel box.'" - Central Texas Live Theatre.

After five years as a minister as three years as Artist Director, more adventures were waiting in the wings. With partner and playwright, Manuel Zárate, I co-founded and now direct the National Winter Playwrights' Retreat in Creede, Colorado. Later this year, I'll bring a new musical festival to Austin, Texas: MainStreet Musicals. In addition, I am now a freelance... everything... across the U.S. and beyond performing onstage, workshopping new pieces, writing publicity for local troupes, hosting playwright retreats, and I've moved back into the pulpit as well. I teach and preach in local churches, speak at conferences on art, faith & storytelling, and of course, I marry off my friends. 

Because, well, all the world's a stage - isn't it?