ADV – Leaderboard


Austin Playhouse Founder Don Toner to Step Down After 22 Years

Toner, a 60-year veteran of regional theatre from New Jersey to L.A. to Mississippi, will continue to direct projects and raise money for the Texas theatre.

AUSTIN: Austin Playhouse has announced that founding co-producing artistic director Don Toner will step down after over 60 years of producing theatre in Austin and beyond. Co-producing artistic director Lara Toner Haddock, Toner’s daughter, will continue working alongside recently hired associate artistic directors Ben Wolfe and Sarah Fleming Walker.

Toner will continue to serve on the theatre’s board of directors and the capital campaign committee. He is currently directing Lauren Gunderson’s The Catastrophist, which runs through April 9.

“This transition has been a long time in the making,” Toner said in a statement. “Lara has led our operations during the pandemic, and with the new additions to the team, Austin Playhouse is in a wonderful position to continue and grow for many seasons. I look forward to just directing what I really want, and I’ll be focusing on our capital campaign to finally fulfill our dream of a permanent home for Austin Playhouse.”

Toner founded Austin Playhouse in 2000 after serving as the producing artistic director at Austin’s Live Oak/State Theatre Company for 13 years. He has served in producing, artistic directing, and stage management positions at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Bucks County Playhouse, and New Stage Theatre, and founded the Theatre Center of Mississippi, the first Equity company in the state. Toner has also worked to build and renovate several performance venues in Austin, serving as a project manager on the State Theatre Company’s renovation in 1999 and leading the renovation of warehouse and mall storefront facilities. He began his career as an apprentice with the Peterborough Players in 1957 before opening a scene shop in New York. He has directed over 60 plays at Austin Playhouse, including multiple Texas premieres, and was nominated for the Texas Medal of the Arts. In 2006, Toner was awarded the Lucy Jordan Humanitarian Award from Actors’ Equity Association for his exemplary commitment to the theatre community.

“The word ‘retire’ isn’t really in my dad’s vocabulary,” Toner Haddock said in a statement. “But now he’ll be able to focus on projects he’s really passionate about, instead of steering the whole ship. And he’s more than earned that.”

Austin Playhouse is a professional theatre that has grown from a three-play season on the campus of Concordia University to a year-round operation producing mainstage plays, theatre for youth, and a new play festival.

Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. Please join us in this mission by joining TCG, which entitles you to copies of our quarterly print magazine and helps support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism.

ADV – Billboard