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Austin Chronicle: Arts & Culture

"Top 10 (+3) Reasons I Stayed In Love With Theatre In 2014" by Robert Faires

9) IA ENSTERA'S SETS: I saw just two-thirds of the 14 sets that Austin's Valkyrie of Scenic Design created for local stages in 2014, but I feel safe in saying that she still works wonders - that moat of crumpled paper around the stage in We Play Chekhov? that full backyard on Hyde Park's stage in Detroit? - and the magical spaces she crafts for artists to play in make every production better.

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"In Praise of Designers: A show of gratitude as two of our finest, Ia Ensterä and Jason Amato, depart Austin" by Robert Faires 

"They show up wanting to contribute – and not as individuals but as part of a team, forging a creative vision collectively. On plays I've directed, both have grilled me about the script, its meaning, my ideas for its setting and characters and for staging key moments, how the audience is engaged. They want to know everything, because it's only by understanding the whole that they can suss out what to design. Anything they create must be integrated into the entirety of this imagined world, of a piece with every other part of it. They seek to serve the work, not dominate it."

" Ensterä's work with, well, just about every company in town, some of the most unlikely materials – denuded trees, wads of paper, thrift-store furniture – have been repurposed into striking settings, from Victorian gardens to medieval fortresses to fin-de-siècle Parisian cafés, realized with such style as to be visual poetry."

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Austin Chronicle

Best Of Austin 2012: Critics' Picks


"Best Valkyrie of the Set"

Austin Chronicle: ARTS

"Top 10 Theatrical Wonders of 2011"

9) IA ENSTERÄ'S SETS: In Flying, Uncle Vanya, and Ghosts, this designer's spaces were characters in their own right, gorgeous and alive, whispering insights about the people in them through a huge frame, a tree, and weblike strings.

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Austin Chronicle: ARTS

"Top 10 Theatrical Delights of the Latter Half of 2011"


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Exhibition of work

Curated by Graham Schmidt

Salvage Vanguard, 2015

"Right there in the Salvage Vanguard Theatre Lobby Gallery. It's the first (and final) local exhibition of multiple works by the acclaimed scenic designer Ia Ensterä, curated by Graham Schmidt. No one's got enough fingers with which to reckon the number of gorgeous, ingenious, memorable sets the artist has created for theatre companies all over the ATX over the last several years - especially as a few of those fingers will be on whatever hand's waving goodbye as Ensterä returns to her native Finland this summer. Now here's the big photo documentation of many of those sets, glorying the walls, for edification and fond memories. Now here's a chance to bid farewell at a reception with the artist: Mon., April 20, 7-10PM, 2803 Manor Rd., 512/474-7886."

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Standing with Graham Schmidt, in the gallery

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