AUSTIN, Texas - It’s Amplify Austin Day, a community-wide day of giving that benefits more than 700 organizations across Central Texas. One of them is an East Austin comedy theater in search of a permanent home.
"The reason the day is such an important day is because there's all of these added fun matches that, quote, amplify the day. So your gift goes further on this day," said Courtney Manuel, CEO of I Live Here, I Give Here.
Last year alone, Amplify raised $13 million for local causes, bringing the total to $93 million. Now in its 10th year, the hope is to top $100 million in total donations this year.
"When everyone participates, you can have tremendous impact," said Manuel.
One of the beneficiaries of Amplify is the ColdTowne Theater in East Austin, which brings all sorts of comedy, sketch, improv, standup and more, to the local community.
"If it’s comedic, if it’s local, it finds its way on this stage," said ColdTowne’s co-owner and executive producer Dave Buckman.
Founded in 2006, ColdTowne had to leave its longtime home on Airport Boulevard due to financial issues during the pandemic. This past October, they finally found a new space on East 2nd Street, but the building is set to be demolished this fall to make way for condos.
ColdTowne’s popular improv show, "StrangeTowne" parodies that plight.
"StrangeTowne is a great way to showcase community coming together under one cause," said Buckman.
Buckman hopes people in real life will do just that. Donations will not only help them find a new home, but also pay performers and fund scholarships for improv classes, helping to promote diversity in the comedy world.
"We really try to open our doors to as many different communities as possible to get their voices on stage and heard," said Buckman.
Voices like Dani Gonzalez, who now teaches an improv class herself.
"Just being part of this community, everyone is very kind and very welcoming and just wants you to know how good you are, and no one brings each other down. And then as an individual it's made me more comfortable in my own skin," said Buckman.
The ColdTowne Theater features live improv shows every Friday and Saturday night, as well as other events and classes throughout the week. For more information or to buy tickets, visit their website https://coldtownetheater.com/.
Amplify Austin Day runs from Wednesday, March 1 at 6 p.m. though Thursday, March 2 at 6 p.m.