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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Life + Arts

Historic Alley Theatre relocates to UH campus

The Alley Theatre will open its newly-refurnished doors in 2015.  |  Courtesy of Alley Theatre

The Alley Theatre will open its newly-refurnished doors in 2015. | Courtesy of Alley Theatre

An exciting experience for UH and Houston’s community will be available this fall, and everyone is invited to come, sit and watch.

For the first time since its grand opening in 1968, Alley Theatre will conduct a renovation of its building with plans to improve their stage, house and technical gear. This major event is good news for UH, who will host Alley’s 2014-2015 season while it undergoes construction.

“It’s a logical connection,” UH Theatre Chairman Jim Johnson said. “The biggest theater in town joining the big theater training institute in town.”

Johnson said the collaboration had been in the works for some time, with the long-standing relationship between the two establishments as well as UH’s ability to provide for Alley’s supply needs proving for a convenient alliance.

“The Alley likes that they can host a whole season in one single space rather than performing their pieces at various locations around Houston,” Johnson said. “UH is a reasonably comfortable space for what their patrons and artistic team are used to. It’s a size larger than their building’s small space, and smaller than their larger space.”

Not only does Alley Theatre benefit in hosting its season on campus, but both theater and non-theater students gain many advantages.

Stage management senior Katie Creeggan expressed her excitement about the partnership.

“It has been worked out so that our acting, design, tech and stage management students will all have opportunities to intern, shadow and understudy in Alley shows. We’ve also had many open houses, tours and meet-and-greets. These are all great opportunities for our students to build and solidify connections with a great local theater.”

Although UH theater students will have fewer opportunities to perform on their home stage, they will be given the valuable chance to interact with professional theaters around Houston, including Stages Repertory Theatre and Stark Naked Theatre.

The collaboration between UH and Stark Naked Theatre will host a production of one of Shakespeare’s classic works, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, which will be performed March 5 through 21 in 2015.

“We’re excited to have the students as part of this production,” said Stark Naked Theatre’s artistic director Philip Lehl.

While UH theater students gain the opportunity to take part in professional theater, SNT benefits from the ability to produce a cast-heavy show.

“Knowing that we have access to UH students allows us to do “A Midsummer Nights Dream” with a bigger cast than we otherwise would be able to afford,” Lehl said.

Non-theater majors will also get a bonus for UH’s hosting the Alley Theatre.

“We hope to give UH students a discount on tickets, encouraging students to come see these shows,” Johnson says. “A lot of students graduate without ever seeing a professional performance, and this may get a few people to go and realize, ‘Wait this is really good!’”

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