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The Alley Theatre, Feb. 2003

The Alley Theatre is a Tony Award-winning indoor theatre in Downtown Houston, Texas, and hosts two stages. The "Hubbard" is the main stage with seating for 824; the more intimate "Neuhaus" seats 310. Nine towers and open-air terraces give the Alley Theatre a castle-like quality. Inside, a staircase spirals from the entrance vestibule to the second-floor lobby.[1] A truly wide variety of plays have been performed in this theater.

The Houston Press ranked the building as one of the ten least photogenic buildings in Downtown Houston. John Nova Lomax, the author of the list, commented "Yeah, yeah, I like the curves and all that, but this concrete hulk still looks like something Stalin’s favorite architect would have come up with on ‘shrooms."[2]



The Alley theatre company was founded in 1947 by Nina Eloise Whittington Vance (1914-1980).[3] Under the leadership of Vance, the Alley Theatre grew from its modest beginnings, in an 85-seat theatre that had to be converted and struck for every performance, to one of the most prestigious nonprofit resident theatres in the United States. The world premiere of Paul Zindel's The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds was staged at the Alley in 1964.[4] In 1996, the Alley Theatre won the Regional Theatre Tony Award.

The Alley Theatre, as seen from the Bayou Place

The opening of the new home of the Alley Theatre in November 1968 was a nationally chronicled event.[3] Since then, the Alley Theatre has continued to uphold its position as one of the nation's pioneering and leading nonprofit resident theatres.

Having forged alliances with such international luminaries as Edward Albee, Vanessa Redgrave and Frank Wildhorn, landmark theatrical events at the Alley have included the world premieres of Jekyll & Hyde, The Civil War, and Not About Nightingales a recently discovered play by Tennessee Williams.[5]


The Alley sponsors what is known as the Houston Young Playwrights Exchange (HYPE), which offers a skills-enhancing experience for people under the age of twenty who want to write for the stage.[6] Every year, several pieces are chosen from the greater Houston area to be produced.

Coordinates: 29°45′42.71″N 95°21′55.84″W / 29.7618639°N 95.3655111°W / 29.7618639; -95.3655111


  1. ^ "Calendar of Events: Alley Theatre". City of Houston. 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-30.  
  2. ^ Lomax, John Nova. "The Ten Ugliest Buildings in Downtown Houston." Houston Press. 4. Retrieved on October 7, 2009.
  3. ^ a b N.J. Stanley (2001-06-06). "Vance, Nina Eloise Whittington". The Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2007-06-11.  
  4. ^ "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds". enotes. Retrieved 2008-05-30.  
  5. ^ "Alley Theatre". Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-30.  
  6. ^ "The Front Row". KUHF Radio. Retrieved 2008-06-25.  

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