The Hideout Theatre

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The Hideout Theatre

Hideout logo.png

Address 617 Congress Avenue
Years of Operation 1998-Present
The view from Congress of the Hideout Theatre.
The view from Congress of the Hideout Theatre.

The Hideout Theatre is an improv theater in downtown Austin that draws its primary inspiration from the work of Keith Johnstone.


1998-1999: Austin Theatresports

Inspired by the improv he had seen in San Francisco, Sean Hill founded Austin Theatresports in 1998. This is the group that would shortly form the core of the Hideout Theatre, but they didn't have a theater space yet. Instead, they performed Theatresports shows at a number of venues in town, including The Hyde Park Theater.

1999-2004: Sean Hill Starts the Hideout

In the first years of the theater's operation, Sean Hill led building/renovating the initial theater space, and he produced the first shows there, starting with Theatresports, and expanding the program out to other Keith Johnstone formats such as Maestro and Gorilla Theater. He included some traditional longforms that weren't strictly Johnstonian, such as More or Less and Six Degrees.

2005-2009: The AIC Years

In the mid-2000s, Sean Hill took a more hands-off approach to the theater, and the Austin Improv Collective along with Manager Andy Crouch started to produce shows there, creating programs like The Threefer and The Double Barrel.

2009-Present: New Management

By mid-2009, Sean Hill's lease on the property came to an end, and he chose not to renew. Eager to see the Hideout Theater continue, Jessica Arjet, Kareem Badr and Roy Janik acquired the property.[1] They immediately scheduled regular two-month mainstage runs for Saturday nights. Over time, they steadily expanded the education program, and the weekly show schedule.

On November 1st, 2012, The Hideout Theatre acquired The Hideout Coffee House business and operations. In January of 2013, the Saturday mainstage shows, as well as Maestro, were moved to the building's larger, downstairs theater. In April, the Coffee House hours were extended, so performers could, at last, grab a drink or a bite to eat at the Hideout after finishing their shows. A second, smaller, Hideout Coffee bar location opened inside an office building at 504 Lavaca in June of 2014. Unlike the expanded hours of The Hideout Coffee House, the Coffee Bar is only open Monday-Friday from 7am until 3pm.


The Hideout Theatre puts on regular shows that run weekly or monthly for long periods, and mainstage shows, which are weekly with one- or two-month runs. For information about the mainstages, see the List of Hideout Mainstage Shows in Chronological Order.

Ongoing Shows



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