We are launching a series of online programming for your enjoyment. Please stay tuned as we prepare to share exciting artistic experiences via our website and social media platforms. We continue to wish for everyone's safety and hope we can add a little joy to your days.
The ‘E’ Online Entertainment Experience! Theater for Everyone Everywhere! is the extension of what would normally be the theatre’s in-house programming of stage readings and special projects including a virtual summer Young Performers Program for youth ages 6-17.
The Ensemble Theatre’s livestream and video on demand events will be presented on:
Sunday, May 31, 2020, 6:00 PM Livestream Play Reading
GREENWOOD: AN AMERICAN DREAM DESTROYED
by Celeste Bedford Walker directed by Rachel Hemphill Dickson
Made possible by a City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs through the Houston Arts Alliance special grant opportunity
Greenwood: American Dream Destroyed examines the tragedy that took place on May 30-June 1, 1921 in the Greenwood District of Tulsa Oklahoma. In highly segregated Tulsa, Oklahoma, an African American community known as the “Negro Wall Street” grew and thrived. The Greenwood District boasted one of the most affluent African American communities in the country. Black citizens created entrepreneurial opportunities for themselves with a vibrant business district including banks, hotels, cafes, movie theaters, modern homes, and an excellent education system. Then disaster and devastation struck.
Tulsa police arrested a young black man on an unsubstantiated charge. An inflammatory report in the Tulsa Tribune the next day spurred a racial confrontation and the Greenwood District found itself looted and burned for over 24 hours by white mobs. Thirty-five city blocks lay in charred ruins, over 300 black residents were killed, 600 African American businesses burned to the ground, and thousands were left homeless.
Greenwood: American Dream Destroyed tells this powerful story from the perspective of three generations of the Boley family, a representative composite of an African American family that may have lived during that tragic and tumultuous time.
Monday, June 1, 2020, 6:00 PM Live Stream Community Conversation
RAISING AFRICAN AMERICAN GIRLS DURING A PANDEMIC
discussing parallels in Greenwood and contemporary times
Sunday, June 7, 2020, 6:00PM Livestream Play Reading followed a Dialogue Exchange
(for youth ages 10+) written and directed by Yunina Barbour-Payne with Music and Lyrics by Werner Richmond and Yunina Barbour-Payne
It’s spring semester and the students in Mr. Washington’s history class are taking notes to plot a revolution. Set in an urban high school filled with young people fed up with violence in their communities, NEVER AGAIN raises the voices of five student activists. At the height of school shootings plaguing schools across the nation, Mr. Washington’s students must confront issues of violence head on. When the need for activism comes too close for comfort, which students will emerge as activists, witnesses, victims or survivors?
Sunday, June 21, 2020, 6:00PM Livestream Play Reading
by Melda Beaty directed by Eileen J. Morris
Monday, June 22, 2020, 6:00PM Livestream Meet and Greet & Dialogue Exchange
Meet Melda Beaty, playwright of Front Porch Societyand upcoming world premiere of Lawson Love Letters.
For some, there’s nothing better than retirement, but when Eddie Lee’s wife, Iris, joins him in retirement, the truth about his “ladies man” ways resurface. To avoid her, Eddie retreats to the sanctuary of McDonald’s where coffee refills are free and the rest of his retired friends, with marital problems of their own, wait faithfully for him. When a mystery woman moves in the abandoned house down the street, with her Creole’ wiles, melt in your mouth coconut cake, and medicine cabinet secrets, Eddie is not the only one who pays her a visit; a visit that threatens to change all their lives forever.
by Calvin Alexander Ramsey directed by Shirley Jo Finney
Friday, June 26, 2020, 6:00PM Livestream Meet and Greet & Dialogue Exchange Moderated by ABC 13 Melanie Lawson
Meet the Playwright Calvin Alexander In Partnership with the Harris County Public Library
ABOUT THE GREEN BOOK
The story takes place during a weekend when the Davis’ are celebrating the arrival of Dr. W. E. B. DuBois for a lecture. The appearance of a white visitor, who turns out to be a Jewish Holocaust survivor, sets off a chain of events that shows that racism and anti-Semitism cannot be ignored. This play integrates historical context of The Negro Motorist Green Book as it investigates the impact of Civil Rights on contemporary American issues.
Featured cast members include: Timothy Eric (DAN DAVIS); Rachel Hemphill Dickson (BARBARA DAVIS); Christian Simon (NEENA MOLLY DAVIS); Kendrick 'Kay B' Brown (CPT. GEORGE SMITH); Brianna Odo-Boms (JACQUELINE SMITH); Jarred Tettey (KEITH CHENAULT); and John Stevens (JACOB LEVINSKY)
Monday, June 29, 2020, 6:00PM Livestream Play Reading
SHAKIN THE MESS OUT OF MISERY
by Shay Youngblood
Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery is the story of a young black girl's coming of age in the South in the 1960s. Daughter, the main character and 25-year-old narrator whose mother died when she was very young, was raised by women in the community, some blood related, some not. When she was 12 years old she began her journey to womanhood guided by these very diverse, non-traditional, older black women. Daughter begins the play as an adult reflecting on the summer of her 12th year in the now empty house of her childhood. She shares with the audience how her Big Mamas prepared her for womanhood. As she remembers, the women enter to tell their stories and Daughter becomes a child again reliving her vivid memories of growing up--recalling the rituals, the faith healings, the stories she was told and the lessons she learned about survival, healing, deep faith and mystery. The Washington Post said Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery "...is a vivid portrait of the members of a tight knit community of African American women...heartfelt and definitely a memory play, but it goes about its business in unpredictable and emotionally satisfying ways...First and foremost is Youngblood's evocative language, which blends the poetic and the everyday into a potent stew of exclamations and descriptions, oaths and jive...Some [scenes] are funny, some melancholy, some deadly serious, but all burst with detail, eccentricity and truth."
LEGACY LEADERS OF COLOR VIDEO PROJECT June 30, 2020
by Theatre Communications Group – American Theatre Magazine Re-launch of The Ensemble Theatre’s Online Screening of the nine-video series
Support for The Ensemble Theatre’s digital programming comes from The BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle, a grant funded by the Pussycat Foundation established by the late Cosmopolitan Editor-In-Chief Helen Gurley Brown. Other major supporters include: City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, The Brown Foundation, Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, Chevron, Enbridge, Houston Endowment Inc., ExxonMobil, The Humphreys Foundation, Shell, Spindletop, TDECU, Texas Commission on the Arts, and United Airlines.