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Friday, November 16, 2018

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Storytime: talk of the BooTown


After Julie Gomez and Emily Hynds graduated from UH in Spring 2007 with bachelor’s degrees in theater, the dilemma of remaining in Houston and performing their craft prompted them to found BooTown, a collaborative theater ensemble that brings together writers, performers and the public.†?"We knew our theater degrees didn’t mean anything and nobody was going to hire us," Gomez said. "We realized we had to do it ourselves because we really weren’t going to find work… at least not the kind of work we were looking to do."

By the following September, Gomez and Hynds had put together the first performance of Grown-up Storytime. The sketch-theater night has since evolved into a successful monthly series that showcases the scribbling of writers, artists and the general public. Grown-up Storytime has also changed venues – to bars from art spaces.†?"We wanted to bring theater to the people and that’s why we’ve been doing performances late at night during weekdays. It seems to get our best crowds," Gomez said.?After the performance of a copyrighted piece, the financial burden was too much for the struggling group. They realized they needed to look to unorthodox sources for material.†?"We didn’t have much money, so I suggested why don’t we have people write random stories and we just read them…. The public (can) write the stories," said Timmy Wood who, along with Greg Hundemer, Philip Hays and Cathy Davis, is one of BooTown’s main players. BooTown takes submissions for each Grown-up Storytime based on the theme of the next performance. Some past themes include "Scary Storytime" and "The Yearbook Edition." The players of BooTown will sometimes go to innovative lengths to secure the most entertaining material.†?"We usually take notebooks out when we go to bars and we have people write stories as well," Gomez said. "And those are always really good stories. We get some of the best stuff when we go out with those notebooks."?BooTown will perform sketches at 10 tonight based on the theme "The first time I ever…" at Rudyard’s British Pub, 2010 Waugh Dr.†

Audience members are requested to donate $5 for the show.

"There will definitely be some non-PG stories," Gomez said. "I just expect a lot of fun. The crowd is good (at Rudyard’s) and it’s relaxed."?This is the seventh installment of the Grown-up Storytime series and tonight’s performance will begin the second season for BooTown.†?"The crowd really loves the type of series we’re doing now, with people submitting stories, and we find performers to act them out," Gomez said.†?BooTown also performs full-length productions and coordinates theater events and collaboration efforts, such as last month’s first annual Houston Fringe Festival, a weekend of theater performances by local troops to benefit Work Shop Houston, which runs after-school programs in Houston’s Third Ward.?To learn more about BooTown and tonight’s event, visit www.myspace.com/bootowntheatre.


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