Larry D. Preas Theatre
Location: East side of Austin High Campus
Phone: (512) 414-7311
Billy Dragoo - Fine Arts Head and Department Chair
Annie Dragoo - Theatre Director and ITS Director
Chuck Harris - Technical Director
Theatre History of Austin High
Theatre has a long and rich role in the history of Austin High School. Archive records show that performances were given as far back as 1908. That year, they produced two shows, As You Like It and Bachelor Hall. Since that time, over 400 shows have been produced here. Our records show that The Senior High Dramatic Club was formed in 1913 and lasted, we believe, until 1921. At that time, The Junior Curtain Club was formed.
The Red Mask Dramatics Club was formed in 1926 and co-existed with the JCC. The JCC and the RMDC joined to become the Austin High School Little Theatre. Austin High did not have an official mascot, so in the fall of 1929, under the direction of James R. Burton, the theatre department named themselves The Red Dragon Players. This year, the Red Dragon Players are celebrating their 85th anniversary. The season usually includes four full-length productions (each show is performed five to eight times), plus a short play that is entered in the UIL One-Act Play Contest. Theatre Art students can take the following classes: Theatre Arts I-IV, Technical Theatre I-IV, Theatre Production I-IV, and Musical Theatre I-IV.
The last show on the Rio Grande campus was The Dark at the Top of the Stairs in the spring of 1975, and the first show on the current campus was A Clearing in the Woods in the fall of 1975.
BILLY DRAGOO taught at Granbury High School and Bowie High School in Arlington before coming to Austin High in the fall of 1993. Mr. Dragoo earned a BFA from The University of Texas in 1987 and a Master of Arts from The University of London in 1990. In the summer of 2002, Mr. Dragoo was granted a scholarship to study at the Globe Theatre in London. He has directed more than 105 shows in his career. Among his favorites are EQUUS, THE SECRET RAPTURE, A FLEA IN HER EAR, ANNA IN THE TROPICS, JUNO & THE PAYCOCK and SOMEONE WHO WILL WATCH OVER ME. He and his students have appeared at the UIL One Act Play State Meet nine times. Granbury High School appeared there in 1988 (taking third place in 4A) and in 1989. Austin High School made six consecutive appearances at the UIL 5A One-Act Play State Meet (2007- 2012,the conference record) and won three State Championships in four years (2009, 2011, 2012). In 2017, Austin High placed 2nd in state. While teaching at Austin High, he has three times been named “Teacher of the Year” -- in 1997 and 2003 and 2011. In 2012 he won the "UIL Sponsor Excellence Award". In 2013, he was named "Inspirational Theatre Educator of the Year" by the Educational Theatre Association. In 2014, he was named "Texas Education Theatre Associations' K-12 Theatre Educator of the Year". In the fall of 2016, Dragoo was named to the Texas Thespians Hall of Fame.
ANNIE DRAGOO began teaching and directing in 1993. She holds a BA in English and Speech Communication with a Concentration in Theatre Studies from Houston Baptist University. In the summer of 2008, she was granted a scholarship to study in residency at the Globe Theatre in London and has trained for several years with the Broadway Teaching Lab in New York. Her career has included directing elementary, middle, and high school students across Texas. Annie began the musical theatre program at Austin High in 2004, and in that time has directed 17 musical productions here and 27 musicals in the last 18 years. She wrote the Musical Theatre Curriculum for the state of Texas and is currently writing a musical theatre text book. She has performed in several professional productions in Dallas, Houston, & Austin. Dragoo co-directed three of the last seven UIL One Act Play productions that have qualified for the 5A State Contest, winning the State Championship in 2012. Among her favorites productions to direct are GYPSY, INTO THE WOODS, SPRING AWAKING, URINETOWN, and RADIO EYES. She was nominated for the UIL Sponsor Excellence Award in 2014, and won the Alma Slawinski Leadership Award from the Texas Thespians. In 2018, Annie was named Austin High School Teacher of the Year and was selected as the K-12 Texas Theatre Educator of the Year.
CHUCK HARRIS received his Bachelor of Music from Texas Tech University. Mr. Harris has had success as both a music teacher and theater director with plays advancing to the Region and State meets, and UIL medalists at the State Film and Theatrical Design Contests. He comes to Austin High School from Liberty Hill High School and has over 25 years of experience in teaching and working in fine arts. Mr. Harris is excited about working with those students who are design and technical wizards as well as the amazing actors and actresses at Austin High.