This is the 2nd year that my high school has been fortunate enough to be a part of the Alley's Playwriting 360 partnership. As a school administrator, I can't say enough positive things about the experience this partnership has given our students. They have the opportunity to write plays, have them critiqued by professionals, work through the revising and editing process, experience the emotions of seeing their creative work interpretted by actors and directors, see it play out in front of an audience, etc - all in a very guided, nurturing framework. Although we had a great theater department before the partnership with the Alley, their commitment to our school has taken it to the next level. The Alley epitomizes what a school-business partnership can mean for students.
On October 16, 1999, I attended Alley for Educators, a workshop for teachers that included a pre-show discussion of the production "A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE", lunch, the play, and a post-show TalkBack with the actors and artist team. From that date on, the Alley been part of my Houston family. The annual series of workshops for teachers was soon renamed Between the Lines and I moved between the lines of audience member and financial supporter to giving my time and energy as a volunteer for the Alley's Education and Community Engagement Department and for the activities the Alley offers free to the public during the annual Theatre District Open House. Why is the Alley worthy of my support? The Alley has a long history of enhancing curiosity, imagination and insight in Houston audiences. The company of actors are professionals that give consistently believable performances in a wide variety of productions by well-known and newly-discovered playwrights. As an audience member participating in real-time storytelling, I am given opportunities to consider "Who am I?" and "What is my place?" in an interesting and increasingly diverse world. The theater stretches my understandings of the important concepts that I teach elementary students in Houston ISD and adds depth to my teaching. I feel joy as I watch my students use their imaginations and gain confidence through their work with an Alley teaching artist in a school residency and as they join other Houston area children and Alley teaching artists to create and perform original stories as part of the Young Performers Studio. I feel pride in Houston and the Alley as I watch the show "I, BARBARA JORDAN" performed as a touring production in schools and the full-stage productions of the season's plays that are offered to students in Alley matinee performances. I feel hope in the future of our human community as I read scripts sent to the Alley's Houston Young Playwrights Exchange (HYPE), follow the top teenage writers as they revise their plays with professional help, and then watch a readers' theater production of the still-in-process growth of the play. Understanding, Joy, Pride, Hope -- what a gift to life I receive from the programs of the Alley Theatre!
During the summer of 2009, I interned with the Education & Community Engagement department. In addition to administrative duties, I assisted with the HYPE (Houston Young Playwright Exchange)and YPS (Young Performers Studio) programs. The quality of both of these programs is excellent. The student playwrights involved in HYPE were supported by highly qualified one-on-one mentors and benefited from guest artists before seeing their works staged for the community. The younger students involved in YPS had excellent, dedicated teaching professionals who guided them through a variety of teambuilding and skillbuilding activities such as improvisation, drama incorporated with music, shadow puppet construction, as well as many other activities. From the start, I felt welcomed by all members of the Alley and appreciated their collaboration and support for one another. I would love the opportunity to work with the Alley again!
Not only do I attend every TalkBack at the Alley Theatre, I greatly look forward to them. Joe Babb does an amazing job discussing and examining the context and content of the play. It provided a much richer experience.
My students have been given the most important gift from the Alley, the opportunity to experience live theatre of the highest caliber. We, as teachers, can experience thought provoking workshops in Between the Lines and see the play! It is a win-win combination. Thank you, Alley!
The Alley has been working at my high school all year. The Alley has sent teaching artists to teach my acting class, they performed a one woman show, and they conducted a playwriting contest and chose one of our student's plays to read at the Alley. They invited 60 of our students to attend plays at the Alley. This has been a thorough Alley experience for Reagan.
I grew up in Houston, and was frequently brought in to see shows as a student in the public system. At first, I was just wowed by the spectacles I was seeing, but as I learned more about theater, I began to appreciate what a gift was being shared. (Other kids had superheroes who crossed comic book plot lines. I had the Alley's resident troupe of actors, who I couldn't wait to see in new "episodes".) Now that I've graduated from the University of Houston (who has a strong, working alliance between their students and professors and the Alley's artists and technicians), I've had the joy of working as a teaching artist for the Alley. Never doubt that the kids are grateful for being made a fuss of, or receiving access to culture they would have otherwise never encountered. It's something they never forget. The Alley's education department works tirelessly to share theatre with the people of this city. They are passionate, fun, protective of the arts, and endlessly encouraging towards the students they encounter.
Our organization is part of the Alley Theatre AlleyWays Program and we have been so fortunate to have been able to expose our students to theater in Houston. Before participating in this program, none of our students had ever attended a theater arts performance before. Many of our families are low-income and their financial focus is on other things such as rent and food. To be able to plant the seed of appreciation of the arts in these kids now is such a blessing for our organization!
I was a long-term season ticket holder right out of college in the 80's. I was thrilled with the quality of the production and acting. I was proud my hometown had such quality theatre. When I lost my job I started ushering as a way to cut back expenses. The staff treat the ushers like an asset. I work for a local university and have had the pleasure of seeing our drama students effuse about David Rainey, a member of the Alley Resident Company, and his contribution as an instructor in or drama program.
My daughter was the recipient of a partial scholarship for a young performer’s acting (summer) class. In a short amount of time, my daughter made new friends and learned to love the theater for all its worth. Her behind the scene experience helps her appreciate all that goes into a play now rather than just enjoying the actors and the acting. The program boosted her self confidence and has given her something else to strive for in life. Just recently she worked on her class schedule for the 2010-2011 school year and I was happy to learn that she signed up for a semester of theater. I have the Alley Theater to thank for that piece of happiness in a young girl’s life.
The quality of the Alley's productions just keeps going up, with a great mix of classics and new works, including 3 world premieres this season. Mrs. Mannerly, currently on the small stage, is a wonderfully entertaining work, as was Wonderland, which just closed. The resident company is tremendously talented, and it is a pleasure to watch them in various different roles throughout the year and year to year.
Since to being drawn to Houston 20 yrs ago, in part by its great reputation for Fine Arts, I've been involved with the Alley Theater, one of the very few with its own Resident Acting Company. The productions are ALWAYS 1st rate, second to none. Artistic Director Gregory Boyd is a nat'l leader in the field with new productions, their costume dept also supplies local resident opera and ballet companies, and their educational workshops and matinee's for students are a huge asset to the community.
The Tourette Syndrome Association of Texas is honored to be a part of the Alley's AlleyWays program. The AlleyWays events allows us a way to provide our adult TS members with an amazing outing. Several of our play-goers had neer before seen a play and ALL have raved about the quality of the performances and the high level of entertainment. We have also taken advantage of an after-performance talk to learn more about the entire "process" -- another highly-lauded opportunity. The Alley continues to bring exceptional works with exceptional acting to our lucky community.
Houston is so fortunate to have such great theatre. I have seen a variety of plays/musicals at the Alley and enjoyed them all. Jekyle And Hyde was developed there and it went on to Broadway. I saw the World premier of Wonderland there today, another terrific musical. The two stages allow for large productions upstairs and more intimate performances downstairs.
The Alley is a fantastic community resource - and has been for many years! Every production I have seen there has been absolutely superb - from the acting, to the sets, costumes, and lighting. I also am privileged to be a part of the group that provides exemplary service to the audiences.
Alley Theatre's resident company is superb! It is such a rare privilege to see the same actors portray so many different "faces". Each one is extremely versatile. Sprinkle this with performances by wonderful guest artists and you have it all: old friends and familiar faces and fresh new talent all working together to keep Houstonians entertained. Always a treat.