TUTS Underground Sets Up Wine & Craft Beer Garden Right Outside the Hobby Center

To go along with its new approach of edgier fare in a smaller venue with TUTS Underground, Theatre Under the Stars has launched a wine and craft beer garden right outside its shows at Zilka Hall in the Hobby Center.

Artistic Director Bruce Lumpkin says when they were making the move to Zilka for some of their shows (Lizzie is there now) they knew they had to make it more inviting to Houston theater audiences.

"The tough thing about that space and that corner with all of the construction going on is if you were to ask people where Zilka Hall is they'd say 'I don't know. Where is it?'" The wine and beer garden right in front of the far end of the Hobby Center gives people a place to sit outside, have a drink and some appetizers, Lumpkin says.

What he's hoping to attract too are people driving by who'll see it in use and say "This looks like something that would be happening in London," Lumpkin says.

Zilka Hall has been the definite less-favored stepsister to the main hall at the Hobby. Little used professionally, it was built to offer a venue for smaller dance and theater companies, but as Lumpkin says "It's dark more often than not." That's where TUTS has done its student shows for years.

Now it's getting a chance at more frequent use, with the advantage that all the seats are fairly close to the stage.

Lumpkin says they're trying to let people know the garden is open after the show as well and they don't have to bolt after a performance. "In essence, we're trying to make it the total theater experience."

Lizzie continues through October 20 at Zilka Hall, Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information or ticketing, call 713-558-8887 or contact www.tutsunderground.com.

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