Special Events

Texas RenFest Plans an October Return and is Looking For Actors Now

Ever wanted to join the troupe of players at the Texas Ren Fest?
Ever wanted to join the troupe of players at the Texas Ren Fest? Photo by Margaret Downing

click to enlarge Ever wanted to join the troupe of players at the Texas Ren Fest? - PHOTO BY MARGARET DOWNING
Ever wanted to join the troupe of players at the Texas Ren Fest?
Photo by Margaret Downing
The Texas Renaissance Festival is looking for actors, holding auditions over the next two (maybe three) weekends to ensure that if everything goes as planned, they'll be opening their doors in October as in years past.

Of course, somewhat appropriately for a special event fixed in the 16th Century, this year's RenFest will be dealing with a pandemic. As a result, some of their regular cadre of actors have decided to sit this one out and veteran producer/director Jeff Baldwin is looking for new blood.

Instead of 20 to 30 people in the auditioning class, there will be no more than ten with everyone wearing masks and social distancing, Baldwin says. If an actor is alone on stage the mask will come off, he said. The mask wearing will carry over to the actual event at which players on the paths will wear a mask at all times. Actors will be spread far enough apart while on stage during the festival so that they won't have to wear masks, he said.

Among the other accommodations planned for the Renaissance Festival, Baldwin said they've decided there will be no staged sword fighting in the paths since the chance of an encounter there causing a mask to come off is just too great. Throughout the festival there will be social distancing, some of it forced as workers have already been busy removing some of the seating, he said.

"This is a first for us," Baldwin said. "We've had wild fires and hurricanes and 9/11 and the bottom falling out of the oil business. We shall overcome."

But for all that to take place, there still need to be actors on stage and out on the large campus the festival inhabits. People interested in trying out for a part don't need any theatrical training or background, he said, just a gregarious personality and a willingness to talk to strangers.

Auditions are scheduled for July 11 and 18, both Saturdays, at the grounds in Todd Mission. Anyone who would like to audition should contact Baldwin at [email protected].

Every staged show will have a manager on hand and all the facilities will be sanitized between shows, Baldwin said. Actors will receive daily health checks, he said.

Baldwin says lots of people have been contacting the Renaissance Festival office asking if the show is going to go on this year. He's deep into his third scenario of how to handle the entertainment and keep everyone, player and guest safe. He's approaching it all with that old axoim: "Plan for the worst and hope for the best,"

The 46th season of the Texas Renaissance Festival will open on October 3 and run through November 29, open on Saturdays, Sundays, and Thanksgiving Friday. Deep discounted tickets will be available during the one-day, while-supplies-last Sale of the Century event on July 18 starting at 8 a.m. online at texrenfest.com. Regular festival tickets will go on sale online and at H-E-B stores on August 1.

click to enlarge So are you up for the challenge? - PHOTO BY MARGARET DOWNING
So are you up for the challenge?
Photo by Margaret Downing
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing