The Ensemble Theatre.
The Ensemble Theatre. Credit: The Ensemble Theatre

To many Bayou City newcomers, Houston’s amazing theater scene comes as a surprise. To born and bred Houstonians and the city’s more seasoned transplants, however, incredible productions and the people who create them, whatever the venue, have come to be expected.

But what no one saw coming was the Ensemble Theatre’s total dominance at the recent 2023 Houston Press Theater Awards – the annual happening honoring the city’s best and brightest plays, actors, directors, etc.

The Ensemble, the historic, Black-owned arts epicenter, took home multiple awards in varied categories including Best Supporting Actress, Best Hair and Makeup, Best Season and Best Artistic Director, to name a few.

“The Ensemble Theatre is a beacon in the community with a legacy that spans four plus decades,” said the Ensemble’s legendary Artistic Director Eileen Morris. “We are thrilled, honored, and blessed to be presented over nine awards by the Houston Press Theater Awards 2023.”

Founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins, the Black theatre company has stayed true to its mission, “to preserve African American artistic expression and enlighten, entertain and enrich a diverse community.”

“Our art is inspiring, boasts legacy, is magical and rooted in Black joy while layered in our mantra, ‘The E is for Everyone and Everyone Counts.’ As the oldest Black professional theatre in the Southwest and one of eight Black theatres in the world that own its facility, we are resilient. We are proud to tell our diverse stories and thankful for this Houston Press recognition. We celebrate together with our peers who embrace the creation of theatre,” added Morris.

The Ensemble kicks off its six-play 2023/24 season with the production, “Chicken & Biscuits,” written by Douglas Lyons and directed by Morris. Described as “a raucous family comedy so full of laughter and love, it’ll leave you begging for seconds,” “Chicken & Biscuits” runs from Sept. 22 – Oct. 15, 2023 with previews on Sept. 16, 17, 20 and 21. The final production of the season, “Pullman Porter Blues,” runs from June 28 to July 28, 2024.

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...