An Innovative Makeover For A Thrifty Theatre: ZACH Theatre & IKEA Creative Spaces Challenge


Cristi Peterson, Winner of the Ikea Creative Spaces Challenge

With nothing more than creative vision and $2500 in IKEA products, local designer Cristi Peterson, winner of the ZACH Theatre & IKEA Creative Spaces Challenge, transformed a cramped and uninspiring administrative office into a beautiful and multi-functional space with Before and After photos to inspire. Following an exciting burst of growth, the longest continuously running theatre in Texas had more staff than office space, and called on Austin’s creative class for help with a redesign challenge. IKEA provided guidance and $2500 in furniture as the thrifty little theatre worked to find a smarter way to use their space. Citygram followed along, documenting the transformation.








“Each of the team members who work in this space feel such renewed energy for our work. It’s been really transformative. It’s just beautiful.”
-Alyson Mintz

“ZACH Theatre is a great steward of contributions we receive from our community with donations going right back into the artwork created on stage, the education in our classrooms and the outreach in our communities. The administrative team behind these efforts make due with less, and this program is a great example of the spirit here at ZACH. We get creative and work with what we have, to make something great. “ said Mindy Ellmer, President of ZACH Theatre’s Board of Trustees.

“I can’t believe it’s the same space,” says Alyson Mintz, Group Sales Manager at ZACH Theatre, who has worked in the Kleberg Marketing Office at ZACH Theatre for five years. “Each of the Priority Seating Reps and admin team members who work in this space feel such renewed energy for our work. It’s been really transformative. It’s just beautiful.”








Following the 2012 construction of the Topfer Theatre performance space, designed by Andersson-Wise, The Creative Spaces Challenge sought to improve the functionality, efficiency, and aesthetic of the administrative offices housed in the Whisenhunt and Kleberg buildings. IKEA cohosted this design challenge, providing both a $2,500 budget in IKEA goods to supplement the participants’ designs, as well as mentorship opportunities throughout the competition. Special video features were produced by Citygram and are in this post. More before and after photos are available on the ZACH Theatre blog.


About ZACH Theatre

A non-profit organization, ZACH creates intimate theatre experiences that ignite the imagination, inspire the spirit, and engage the community. As Austin’s leading professional producing theatre, ZACH employs more than 300 actors, musicians, and designers annually to create its own diverse array of nationally recognized plays and musicals under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley and Managing Director Elisbeth Challener. Each year, ZACH serves nearly 115,000 Central Texans – 60,000 of which are children and youth who participate in our education and outreach programs, as well as the inspiring camps and classes. ZACH Theatre is honored to host private and community events across the beautiful rental-ready spaces on our three-stage campus located in the heart of Austin. Founded in 1932 and in its 83rd season, ZACH is the longest continuously running theatre company in the state of Texas, and one of the ten oldest in the country. Visit for more information.

Connect with ZACH:

• Twitter @ZACHtheatre

About IKEA

IKEA strives to be ‘The Life Improvement Store,’ and since its 1943 founding in Sweden, has offered home furnishings of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 330 IKEA stores in 40 countries, including 38 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainable efforts into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, go to

This article posted in sponsorship with The ZACH Theatre

Written by Lauren Lovell
Photo credits: Jessie Neuendorff, Adrienne Dever, Lauren Ussery, Zach Theatre


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