Houston is home to the largest African-American professional theatre company in the United States which produces plays in-house and owns its own facility. The Ensemble Theatre is a non-profit organization, originally founded in 1976 by George Hawkins, as a touring company focused on providing diverse, professional roles for black actors. Rehearsals were first held in a church basement, then a small city storefront. Today, the theatre and beautifully glassed lobby are located on 3535 Main Street.
Each season, the theatre presents critically acclaimed dramas, comedies, and musicals that demonstrate the artistic skills of over 250 professional local, regional, and national artists, as well as support staff. The Ensemble Theatre furthers their mission via an educational touring program and a summer young performers training program, plus workshops and classes throughout the year.
Photo: @alex.shyp via Twenty20
The Ensemble building is in the heart of Midtown and has a METRORail stop named after it, in conjunction with Houston Community College nearby. Three different stages are open to the troupe: a main stage auditorium with seating for 200, an arena stage with 125 seats, and a grand performance hall for the accommodation of 500 people. Since the pandemic, live and recorded events are regularly held on the Facebook page for The Ensemble Theatre. While the Ensemble is proudly an African-American run troupe, it is colorblind when welcoming directors, designers, performers, playwrights, and audiences.
An integral part of the city and the state of Texas, many a voice would not be heard without this arts organization. Take advantage of the METRORail offer of one free ticket with one purchased ticket at the box office when in-theater performances are open once more. In the meantime, virtually celebrate the 45th anniversary of The Ensemble Theatre in Houston in 2021! Have you seen a show at the theater? Tell us all about it!