Did you know that Austin has a relatively new theater company? Five-year-old independent Filigree Theatre was conceived and nurtured by NYC-born and raised Producing Artistic Director Elizabeth V. Newman. Newman moved to Austin over a decade ago and immersed herself in the small, growing performing arts scene. The Filigree Theatre was born in 2018 and is part of the Austin Creative Alliance.

Their unique approach to theater is structured by seasons to connect the past, present, & futureof theatre through a shared theme that runs throughout the season, comprised of Fall (past), a play from the theatre cannon, Winter (present), a play that is the work of a playwright living and working today, and Spring (future), a play that is a new work or world premiere.

Newman’s background in theatre is impressive. She graduated from Yale University with dual B.A. degrees in History of Art and Theater Studies. She earned her M.F.A. degree in Film Production at Boston University. Her stage directing credits include: “100 Planes” by Lila Rose Kaplan (World Premiere, Austin/West Coast Premiere, Los Angeles); “Fefu And Her Friends” by Maria Irene Fornes (Austin); “Miss Julie” by August Strindberg (Austin); “A Delicate Ship” by Anna Ziegler (Austin Premiere), “Trio” by Sheila Cowley (World Premiere, Austin); “Any Night” by Daniel Arnold & Medina Hahn (Los Angeles Premiere & Austin Premiere – nominated for four B. Iden Payne Awards, including Outstanding Direction of a Drama); “Betrayal” by Harold Pinter; “Body of Work” by Christine Hoang, (World Premiere, Austin); “Mocha” by Eleanor Burgess (World Premiere, Austin); “The Amenable Stage” by C. M. Gill (World Premiere, Austin); “The Sniper’s Nest” by Lisa Soland (Austin Premiere); “Goodnight Children Everywhere” by Richard Nelson (London, ON, Canada); “The Park Bench” by Linda Lee Armstrong (World Premiere, London, ON, Canada); “Fragments” by Murray Schisgal (Los Angeles).

Her theatrical producing credits include The Austin Premiere of “When We Were Young And Unafraid” by Sarah Treem, the World Premiere of “Mocha” by Eleanor Burgess (Austin); the World Premiere of “Nights of Noir!” by Casey Wilson (Los Angeles); the West Coast Premiere of “Orange Lemon Egg Canary” by Rinne Groff (Los Angeles); the American Premiere of “Clocks and Whistles” by Samuel Adamson (New York); “Dutchman” by Leroy Jones (New York).

Elizabeth’s film directing credits include the feature film, Child of Light, and numerous short films. Her feature script, Shattering, was included in IFP’s Emerging Narrative (IFP Independent Film Week); and her short script, In Cold Pursuit, was a ‘second-rounder’ at The Austin Film Festival. She is co-president of Women in Film and Television: Austin and is a member of DIRECTOR’S LAB: NORTH.  She has been a panelist for two years at The Austin Film Festival. 

Filigree’s 5th season’s productions center around The Woman in the Story to memorialize its fifth anniversary season, mainly three women who battled male-dominated spaces across time: Antigone, Dorothy Walton, and Dr. Rosalind Franklin.Dr. Franklin is the central figure in Photograph 51, by Anna Ziegler, performed byLaura Ray, who performed in Season 1’s winter production of Anna Ziegler’s A Delicate Ship.

Anna Ziegler’s plays include the widely produced Photograph 51 (West End, directed by Michael Grandage and starring Nicole Kidman; named the number one play of 2019 by the Chicago Tribune.

British and Jewish, Franklin was a tireless, devoted scientist who almost made the groundbreaking discovery of DNA’s double helix possible through her study and experimentation of crystalline photography. ​​Rosalind Franklin, one of history’s leading scientists, famously took ‘Photo 51’ at King’s College – an image that would forever change how we view life, animals, and ourselves. Rosalind’s work was also central to understanding the molecular structures of RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite. She also was instrumental in determining the first-ever detailed structure of a virus. She was awarded a Ph.D. in 1945. While working in the biophysics unit of King’s College in London, she wrote in her notebooks that the structure of DNA had two chains

The play juxtaposes machismo and anti-Semitism against the backdrop of Franklin’s unwavering intellect and dedication, which, in the end, kills her before she can ever receive credit for her work. She died at the tender age of 38 from ovarian cancer and perhaps unrequited love. And yet the accolades for discovering the double helix went to an arrogant young American named Watson, who essentially plagiarized Franklin’s work.

The cast and crew performed stunningly alongside Laura Ray. They featured Bailey Ellis as Don Caspar, Scot Friedman as Francis Crick, Cameron La Brie as James Watson, Fernando Rivera as Ray Gosling, and J. Kevin Smith as Muarice Wilkins. KMFA 89.5 is a Filigree media partner.

Be sure to notice where performances are held on the homepage, as they are in multiple houses.

Photograph 51 runs from Thursday, Jan. 25  through Sunday, Jan. 28 starting at 8 p.m. each night, with a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee at the Factory on 5th (3409 E. 5th

St., Austin, TX 78702). The show will run the following Thursday – Sunday evening at 8 p.m., with the same Sunday matinee at 3 p.m., until it closes on Feb. 4.

Tickets for Photograph 51 are available at filigreetheatre.com and  evvnt


By Elise Krentzel

Elise Krentzel is the author of the bestselling memoir Under My Skin - Drama, Trauma & Rock 'n' Roll, a ghostwriter, book coach to professionals who want to write their memoir, how-to or management book or fiction, and contributing author to several travel books and series. Elise has written about art, food, culture, music, and travel in magazines and blogs worldwide for most of her life, and was formerly the Tokyo Bureau Chief of Billboard Magazine. For 25 years, she lived overseas in five countries and now calls Austin, TX, her home. Find her at https://elisekrentzel.com, FB: @OfficiallyElise, Instagram: @elisekrentzel, LI: linkedin.com/in/elisekrentzel.