Nonprofit and improv theater collaborate to conserve Waller Creek

Carlynn Hickenbotham

Waller Creek Conservancy, a nonprofit that focuses on conserving Waller Creek, has partnered with an improv center to spread awareness for ignored parks such as Palm Park that are in need of upkeep from the Austin crowd.

Together, the conservancy and the New Movement theatre successfully launched the first ever Waller Creek Live on Wednesday. The event included music, sketch comedy, improv, free food, drinks and even games for the audience, in which each participant received a prize.

The planning for the event started nearly a year ago by Tony DeLisi, who serves as the event’s committee chair for the Waller Creek Conservancy, and Roy Lazorwitz, a current performer at the New Movement theatre. 

“When we started talking about this show, I think we used the term ‘culture party,’” said Lazorwitz. “We wanted to do as much as we can. Some of these performances will be a bit of improv, and some of it has been planned for months.”

As fellow park enthusiasts, they wanted everyone to realize all the beauty small parks have to offer, as well as the multiple opportunities and free spaces available. In order to do so, DeLisi and Lazorwitz decided to use comedy. 

“Austin is always busy,” DeLisi said. “The great thing about the creek is that it runs right through the town, and there’s all these spaces that people don’t know about that they can use.”

DeLisi was very excited the event was finally going to be taking place, especially with the recent redevelopment of Waller Creek. He hoped the event would raise people’s awareness of the fact that bigger and better things were soon to come. 

“These are new opportunities for social events along the creek,” DeLisi said. “We’ve done tours and creek walks and kayaking … this is the first performance we have been able to set up. We hope to have even more.”

As soon as the event began, approximately 40 people were gathered, along with some students from the University. Jacob Goebel and Ryan Chang, both radio-television-film freshmen, said if there were more events like this, they would go. 

“Free food is always nice,” Goebel said.