Founded in the mid-1970s, the Ensemble, Main Street, and Stages theaters have consistently brought excellent plays, many of them world and regional premieres, to Houston audiences and have managed to prosper despite some lean years. Three seasoned artistic directors will talk candidly about their work, Houston’s theater environment, and the three plays that open their 2019-20 season.
September 26: Kenn McLaughlin, Eileen Morris, and Rebecca Udden—artistic directors of Stages, the Ensemble, and Main Street theaters—will discuss their theaters and creative work in a conversation led by theater critic Trevor Boffone. Each will describe how they chose their plays and will offer their perspectives on Houston theater.
September 29: If the brain is nothing but facts and matter, what is consciousness? Tom Stoppard’s most recent play, The Hard Problem, asks with provocative discourse and quick wit whether computers and the MRI scanners will answer all the questions psychology can ask. Or is there more to being human? The play opened at London’s National Theatre in 2015.
October 6: School Girls: Or, the African Mean Girls by Jocelyn Bioh—set in Ghana in 1986—is a buoyant and biting comedy that explores the universal similarities (and glaring differences) and follows the travails, jealousies, and manipulations of high school girls. The ugly question of internalized racism lurks within this story. School Girls premiered in 2017 at New York’s MCC Theater.
October 20: Tim Price’s 2011 play Salt, Root and Roe is the story of 80-year-old twin sisters living in a seaside Welsh town and a meditation on the nature of change and the courage it takes to face aging. This American premiere is a co-production with Upstream Theatre in St. Louis—whose artistic director, Philip Boehm, is a native Houstonian—and will feature Houston’s own Sally Edmundson.
Trevor Boffone is a Houston-based scholar, educator, writer, dramaturg, and producer who explores how theater and community interact. He produces Stages’ annual Sin Muros Latinx Theatre Festival.
Artistic director Kenn McLaughlin joined Stages Theatre in 2001 as managing director and has served as artistic director since 2006. Founded by Ted Swindley in 1978, Stages will expand into its new Gordy theater in 2020.
Eileen Morris is a director, actress and educator. In the 1980s, she worked closely with George W. Hawkins who founded the Ensemble Theatre in 1976 to preserve African-American artistic expression and enlighten, entertain, and enrich a diverse community.
Fresh out of Rice University, Rebecca Greene Udden founded Main Street Theater in 1975. She continues to direct and act. She also founded Main Street’s thriving year-round Theater for Youth.