The Alley Theatre is a Tony Award-winning theatre company in Houston, Texas. It is the oldest professional theatre company in Texas and the third oldest resident theatre in the United States. Alley Theatre productions have played on Broadway at Lincoln Center, toured more than 40 American cities, and played internationally in Berlin, Paris, and St. Petersburg.
Under the leadership of Nina Eloise Whittington Vance, the Alley Theatre was founded in 1947 in a former dance studio with an opening on Main Street. A brick corridor led from Main to the back of the studio, hence the name Alley Theatre. In 1948, early paying members scouted Houston for a new location for the Alley, finally landing on an abandoned fan factory on Berry Avenue. The Alley reopened on February 8, 1949, with a production of Lillian Helman’s The Children’s Hour. The Alley then became a fully professional/Equity company.
The Alley Theatre was invited by the United States State Department to represent the American Regional Theatre at the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958.
The opening of the new Brutalist-style home of the Alley Theatre in November 1968 was a nationally chronicled event. It has two stages – the Hubbard Stage, which has 774 seats, and the more intimate Neuhaus Stage, which has 296 seats. The Alley’s building at 615 Texas Ave. was designed by Ulrich Franzen, who, along with Ms. Vance, wanted to create a building that sings from any viewpoint. Franzen selected the concrete exterior because he was inspired by Houston’s location and the warm weather of the Southwest.
In 1996, the Alley Theatre won the Regional Theatre Tony Award and has toured 40 American cities and abroad. and is regarded as one of the most respected resident companies in the country.
On March 1, 2011, the Alley Theatre was awarded a Texas Medal of Arts Award by the Texas Cultural Trust, bestowed upon Texas leaders and luminaries in the arts and entertainment industry for creative excellence and exemplary talent.
The theatre was completely renovated in the mid-2010s after being flooded by Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 but was again flooded by Hurricane Harvey and sustained the worst damage of any Houston theatre. The Neuhaus Theatre, located on the building's basement level, was filled with seventeen feet of water. The company's prop storage, containing close to 100,000 props, was completely destroyed. In response to Harvey, the company commissioned a touring children's play that was performed throughout Houston area schools.
*Information courtesy of Wikipedia