Alley Up

Enhancing The Alley Theatre

Catherine D. Anspon
June 25, 2013

Houston’s busy Tony-winning performing arts company The Alley Theatre, under the leadership of artistic director Gregory Boyd and managing director Dean Gladden, stages an incredible 393 productions every season. So, it’s long been time for a redux. Perfectly timed is the recent announcement of an ambitious $73 million capital campaign, of which $31 million has already been secured, to the credit of fund-raising co-chairmen Meredith Long and Roger Plank. First, $10 million for artistic enhancement (which began in 2008) increases the budget annually by $1 million into 2017 for bigger productions and beefing up the resident company’s creative team. Secondly, the lion’s share of $46.5 million is earmarked for renovation, which includes cleaning the iconic turreted cement exterior of the medieval-modernist classic that launched Harvard School of Design-trained architect Ulrich Franzen’s career and upgrading the interior, especially the Hubbard Stage, where new seats and, most importantly, a reconfiguration, provides a more intimate encounter for both actors and theatergoers. State-of-the-art technical improvements include an added fly loft with computer-controlled, motorized rigging; fully trapped stage floor; lighting, sound and electrical enhancements; and expanded dressing rooms. Finally, phase three raises $16.5 million — a $15 million endowment and $1.5 million cash reserve towards future artistic productions. The only performing arts company in the Theater District that owns and operates its own building, the Alley enviably launches its campaign with a positive balance sheet. Tapped for the project is Studio Red Architects’ Pete Ed Garrett, the go-to who restored the Alley’s Neuhaus Stage post Tropical Storm Allison. To offer suggestions, tap; to donate,; for naming rights, contact Nancy Giles, 713.315.3398,