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ALLEY THEATRE MISSION Produce great theatre that embodies the Resident Company. Values § Creative Excellence: Artistic innovation and the highest professional standards § Alley Company Artists: Resident acting company and continued relationship with select writers, directors and designers

§ Community Engagement: Sharing and instilling a passion for the theatre with audiences, patrons and Houston’s diverse community

§ Applied Theatre: Integrating drama in education, community or therapeutic context

APPLIED THEATRE MISSION Gather / Support / Nurture / Engage / Educate Applied Theatre at the Alley is a national driving force for innovative arts education. We pioneer arts integration, cultivate the next generation of theatre artists, and foster community discourse.


Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017


91.6% GROWTH

2016 /2 017 79,403

TEACHERS 2 013/2 014 1,94 0

88.7% GROWTH

2016 /2 017 3,660

CONTACT HOURS 2 013/2 014 142,610

248.8% GROWTH

2016 /2 017 497,406




esides being the fourth largest city, Houston is the most diverse city in America. Almost 74 percent of Houston’s population comes from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds.

The Alley seeks to address the concerns of our diverse community at all stages and ages — from kindergartener to educator, parent, and patron. This year, we extended our reach by producing a premiere hip-hop coming-of-age saga, Syncing Ink, and also invited both traditional and atypical theatre goers on an interactive theatre journey with Remote Houston, aiming to impact our entire community. With our annual Alley All New Festival, we continuously seek relationships with diverse national and local playwrights and actors. Throughout the course of many years, our Theatre has sought to dialogue with our wide-ranging community through a commitment to applied theatre programs to address the needs of Houston’s kaleidoscope of cultures, languages, and concerns. Out in the field, we witnessed the ways in which Houston students are influenced by America’s complex history through legacies of separation and assimilation. Recent research has shown that the arts improve students’ academic “operating [We] don’t need to wait for large-scale systems” better than anything else schools offer. Theatre fosters participants’ emotional intelligence, reflection, empathy, and respect for differences. Because of policy changes to be enacted in order diminishing funds for arts education, fewer school-based outlets exist for students to take actions today and tomorrow of all ages that support their growth intellectually, emotionally, and socially. and the next day that will help In this report, we are proud to highlight our work that energizes and animates children succeed. What the research our community, realizing the ancient purposes of theatre: dialogue, teaching, and makes clear is that the trajectory that storytelling. Through our productions and Education and Community Engagement childrens' lives follow can sometimes be efforts, we hope to impact America's “other legacy” of inclusion, diversity, and equity. redirected by things that might at first seem, to the adults in their lives, to be small and insignificant. – Paul Tough, How Children Succeed


Dean R. Gladden

Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017

The Alley Theatre’s education programs would not be possible without the generous support of our donors. ALLEY THEATRE ECE DONORS 2016 - 2017 Deloitte Wayne Duddlesten Foundation ENGIE George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation William E. and Natoma Pyle Harvey Charitable Trust Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ Kinder Morgan Foundation Macy's Marathon Oil Corporation Immanuel & Helen B. Olshan Foundation John & Charlene O'Shea Family Foundation The Powell Foundation Shakespeare in American Communities Shell Oil Company Vivian L. Smith Foundation TCG Blue Star Grant Texas Commission on the Arts Theatre Forward Union Pacific Wells Fargo Debbie Wernet




ngaged learning is at a premium in today’s classrooms. In fact, a survey conducted on 81,000 students confirmed about one-half of the students are bored in school every day. A three-year National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study of 1,000 fifth graders discovered that 93% of their time was spent working alone. When practiced collaboratively, the arts can develop the following skills: processing, sequencing, improved memory, especially short-term memory, and building lifelong transferable skills, including reading. All over the Houston area, applied theatre at the Alley demonstrates how arts intergrated instructual strategies engage at-risk students, improving their academic performance. Many well-rounded-subject teachers, arts specialists, and students recognize the value of arts learning goes beyond understanding and retention of content. It is evident that students engaged in collaborative arts learning are demonstrating increased reflection on the process of learning itself.

Our students enjoyed the unique and insightful way lessons were brought to life. Often times, children slip through the educational cracks because traditional extrinsic motivators

Through the Alley’s applied theatre efforts, our legacy is not only seen through our work but also by promoting educational strategies that motivate both academically atrisk and high-performing students, supporting their academic interests, improvements in specific academic subjects, and increased enjoyment in learning. Sincerely,

don’t interest them. However, the artsintegration model brought something new to our students that intrigued their interest and peeked their curiosity. I

Mary Sutton

saw students working on vocabulary, clarifying concepts, cooperative engagement, and zeal to show others what they had accomplished. And low performing students performed flawlessly — something truly amazing to witness. – Fort Bend ISD Science Specialist, Goodman Elementary School, a Title I Campus observing an Alley Theatre Staging STEM Residency


Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017






OVERVIEW Magnolia 290


IN OUR SCHOOLS The Woodlands • Staging STEM


Prairie View 290







Sealy 10

• Professional Development & Arts Integration Network • Partner School Program • Slam Poets @ Alley Theatre • First Draft – Personal Narrative: My Voice, My Choice • Alley Character Education Series/ Oskar

• Student Matinees • Backstage Tours


IN OUR COMMUNITY • First Draft – Houston Veterans Story Hour • DREAM-HOUSTON • VSA Performing Arts Access for Kids Program 61 0 • Houston Arts Partners Conference




Sugar Land

La Porte

TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION 8 • Alley Conservatory • Alley Play Makers •288 Internships



264 schools and 27 independent school districts were served by Alley Theatre Education and Community Engagement Programs in 2016-2017.


• Alley Re-Sourced • Shakespeare Saturdays • Artist TalkBacks • Alley in Context • Designer Talks 288 • Alley Student & Educator Savings Program 35








West Columbia



Van Vleck


ARTS INTEGRATION PROGRAMS Staging STEM I was amazed that none of our kids were even nervous — they were like fish in water. Many parents and grandparents came up to me afterwards and told me that they were so excited to see their kids excited about learning. – Catherine Seilkop, 5th Grade Teacher at Sugar Mill Elementary School

School districts including but not limited to: Fort Bend, Spring and Houston participate in the Alley’s flagship arts integration program Staging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). STEM concepts such as: math operation strategies, Earth’s processes, habitats and food chains are integrated with theatre arts content. Many returning schools have requested that we teach literacy topic’s to boost reading comprehension. Compelling data shows that high-quality theatre arts integration programs have a powerful impact on young learners and test scores. Curriculum is designed specifically for the individual school, based on selected wellrounded subject standards. In addition, pre- and post-assessments are created using STAAR-based questions to evaluate knowledge and vocabulary retention. The resulting assessment data is shared with each campus team and used to improve teaching outcomes. This year, our partner, Fort Bend ISD, further examined retention rates, by administering additional assessment six weeks after residency conclusion. Results were very positive and proved that student comprehension of material taught through arts integration was retained far beyond the last day of our teaching artist’s visit.









Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017

SPOTLIGHT ON WILSON MONTESSORI When the Alley piloted Staging STEM four years ago, one of our first partner schools was Wilson Montessori, a Houston ISD campus committed to teaching the wholechild using hands-on independent learning strategies. Since then, this campus has implemented Staging STEM each semester throughout multiple grade levels. This has led to a trustworthy and close relationship between Alley Teaching Artists and the entire school. Wilson Montessori has benefitted from the lasting legacy of the Staging STEM program, demonstrating growth in both invaluable social-emotional skills and artistic experiences and retention of difficult-to-teach curriculum during the last four years.

Wilson Montessori Elementary School









5 9







Classrooms 25

Students 563

Contact Hours 6,756

“I'm so fortunate to have been part of Staging STEM at Wilson Montessori for the past three years. I've been even more fortunate to return to the same classrooms and teach many of the same kids year after year. My favorite part about returning is when students help me teach. I'll ask them if they remember a game or exercise, and most of the veterans know exactly what I'm talking about and know it almost better than I. I see what we taught last year has grown and that they are even more masterful than the year before. Everyone at Wilson really looks forward to Staging STEM each year, and it makes a difference walking through the doors knowing I get to be the best part of the students’ day. Each time I come back, the bond between the school and the Alley grows stronger and stronger. I hope it lasts a long time — great things are going on there.“ Jason Duga

– Jason Duga, Staging STEM Teaching Artist at Wilson Montessori since 2014

“We have enjoyed having Staging STEM in our classroom for the past few years. Jason has been our instructor and has developed a good rapport with the students. I have seen some of my students come out of their shells while others who like the idea of acting actually feel comfortable acting out the vocabulary and difficult concepts. They seem to retain the vocabulary better when movement is put with it, which is a core concept of the Montessori philosophy — that the more of the senses used in learning a concept, the better able the student remembers and applies it. I have seen the bilingual students, who are generally reserved, really come out of their shells. We love our partnership with Staging STEM.” – Trish Didion, Teacher at Wilson Montessori



Changing the Face of Education Arts Integration Network (AIN)

With the goal to change the face of education, we launched the Arts Integration Network. A collaboration between Alley Theatre and Fort Bend ISD, AIN offered in-depth training to motivated educators. During our inaugural summer session, five selected teachers delved into arts integration. Teachers participated in experiential arts-integrated practices, group discussions, and lesson planning. They observed teaching artists at work and practiced implementing concepts with campers. Teachers went on to receive 16 hours of in-class mentorship with a Master Teaching Artist during the school year. Additionally, for many school districts in the area, we deliver traditional half-day to two-hour professional development workshops in multiple topics such as Shakespeare, voice and movement often highlighting problem-solving, collaboration and social emotional learning.




Classroom Hours



Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017

AIN Spotlight

"When I use arts integration in the classroom, it makes me feel like I’m the fun teacher again. My class enjoys learning much more. I’ve seen it show up in their test scores. Arts integration is tailored toward children using their bodies to articulate their understanding of a concept or problem solving. It’s using their bodies to comprehend. I’ve seen growth in academic vocabulary, which we were lacking. Staging STEM and these lessons were the biggest help. It gave kids the impression that, 'Oh hey, I can do this.' AIN has reinforced what I believe to be true: that every student can learn, even the little girl who just came to the United States. She was looking at the physical and then able to verbalize. When students are miles apart, these techniques help them understand. All students can get together and work on a common goal. Not many things can do that, no matter the academic level. It’s renewed my faith in the fact that learning can be engaging and fun." – Anastasia Wade, 3rd Grade Teacher at Goodman Elementary School


Classroom Hours 80

Students 125

Contact Hours 2,080


Without a doubt, partnering with Alley and its outstanding team has changed our students’ worlds! With the artists you’ve sent us, you’ve shown our students the possibilities that will scaffold them to places they might never have thought possible. The experiences within the classroom and the Alley are times they’ll remember forever. – Carole Wills, Head of School, The Briarwood School

2 016-2017 PARTNERSHIP SCHOOLS Academy of Choice (Spring Branch ISD) The Briarwood School (Private) Carnegie Vanguard High School (Houston ISD) Cornerstone Academy (Spring Branch ISD) Furr High School (Houston ISD) High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) (Houston ISD) The Joy School (Private) Kleb Intermediate School (Klein ISD) Pasadena High School (Pasadena ISD) Heights High School (Houston ISD) St. Francis Episcopal Day School (Private) Sharpstown High School (Houston ISD) Waltrip High School (Houston ISD)

PARTNER SCHOOL PROGRAM Alley Theatre’s Partner School Program offers in-depth multi-subject residencies that serve public and private middle and high schools across Houston. Guided by the Alley’s education staff, theatre and English departments at our Partner Schools craft an arts education action plan that complements and enhances academic curriculum. Schools have exclusive access to a broad slate of workshops, including: Theatre Through the Ages and the 360° Residencies in Shakespeare, Movement, Playwriting, Slam Poetry, and Voice. This expert programming is also offered to non-partner schools who seek access to these residencies as a single experience for their classrooms. Our work helps students build self-confidence and hone skills they will use for the rest of their lives, including effective communication, collaborative thinking, creative problem solving, and conflict management.


Contact Hours Students


263,771 7,771

18,354 282,125 704 8,475

Classroom Hours 1,294

127 1,421


26 162


Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016-2017

SLAM POETS @ ALLEY THEATRE Slam Poetry Artist-in-Residence Program

Number of Students 2,560 Number of Teachers 52 Number of hours 440 Number of Contact Hours 69,442

The Alley’s popular Slam Poetry artistin-residence Program helps teens tell their stories. When shared, these stories enhance mutual understanding and spark community discourse. Our goal is to teach students the necessary skills to nurture and discover their own dynamic voices. We want to instill in students the courage to articulate and defend their most personal ideas and experiences in a public forum. In doing so, the Alley Theatre helps students become effective and creative communicators throughout their lives. Slam Poets @ Alley Theatre Poetry Slams give student poets the opportunity to showcase their work and compete for coveted spots on state and national slam poetry teams.

Our Teen Slam events were overwhelmingly successful this year. In fall 2016, students from nine partner schools competed in the Neuhaus Theatre in front of 312 audience members. Held in the Hubbard Theatre with 250 audience members, the spring 2017 Slam featured students from seven schools.

Bayou City Slam Festival

Through its partnership with the Alley, The Bayou City Poetry Slam, one of the nation’s most competitive slams, has experienced tremendous growth over the past three years. They held two slams last season, one in the Neuhaus Theatre in November, and March marked the organization’s first slam festival. During the two-day event, 40 poets competed in a battle of words to earn a spot in the finals, which took place in the Alley’s Hubbard Theatre.

I am a fan of slam poetry, but I've always found it difficult to teach. This program taught poetry so well, I found myself taking notes. My students learned how to write using imagery, they learned about poetic devices such as repetition, abstraction, complexity of language and expression. It was great to have someone who not only understood poetry, but was passionate about it, and knew how to teach it. Awesome! – Mark Wiessinger, ELA Teacher, Academy of Choice


FIRST DRAFT Personal Narrative: My Voice, My Choice

Alley Theatre refined its First Draft personal narrative program this season. Moving past the pilot stage, this year, we worked closely with College Grad to explore and ultimately embed social emotional learning strategies into the curriculum. Staff implemented the curriculum with more than 100 juniors and seniors applying to college as first-generation students.

First Draft transformed students’ memories into touching personal narratives. From a blend of creative writing techniques and theatre games, teaching Artists honed students’ writing and public speaking skills to bring their stories to life. Staff also experimented with implementing the Studio Habits of Mind (SHOM), identified by Project Zero at Harvard University. SHOM encouraged student reflection and drew attention to the social emotional competencies Alley programs foster. Each student left the program with a fascinating story that will serve as a college admissions or scholarship essay.

Story Slam

Twenty-seven students submitted their stories for review to share their personal histories. Ultimately, 15 students were chosen to present their stories at the Alley’s first-ever Story Slam on March 7. The event created an eye-opening experience for the students, a majority of whom were members of Houston’s Latinx community. Their thought-provoking personal narratives provided a platform for the ideas of young people who have struggled to be heard. The event included a presentation from teaching artist Joshua Inocéncio’s play Purple Eyes, a bilingual personal narrative about his Latinx family’s attitude toward machismo. Approximately 120 audience members attended the Story Slam. Sponsored by BridgeUP at The Menninger Clinic, Project GRAD Houston served as a partner for the project, which took place at AAMA Sanchez Charter School, Heights High School, Project GRAD cafécollege, and Raul Yzaguirre School for Success.


Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017

Fantastic Findings for First Draft

One of our spring 2017 interns developed new research methods to measure the benefits of participating in First Draft. From a questionnaire administered to 32 student participants from Raul Yzaguirre School for Success, she was able to capture statistics on student outcomes and direct quotes. This data gave Alley Theatre ECE department a great look at how First Draft prepares high school learners for success.


found First Draft more enjoyable than their usual classes, keeping them engaged. “On your typical school day, we don’t really open up to who we are, so that was an added factor.”

90.5% said they planned to use what they had learned in First Draft for future writing and speaking assignments.

“When I do college essays, I will use the First Draft method to help me elaborate.”


of students referred to using skills they gained in First Draft for college or future jobs, even though this was not prompted by the survey. “I will use my speaking skills because in college or university we need to present and talk to everyone. Also, I will use them for job interviews.”

Houston Veterans Story Hour

Sponsored by Blue Star Theatres, the Alley provided a special First Draft workshop to eight veterans looking to share their service experiences. Over the course of four weeks, veterans learned to craft their stories into touching personal narratives about their military experiences. Participants received training from The Telling Project’s Max Rayneard, who helped theatricalize their performances. Veterans presented their stories through two performances of Houston Veterans’ Story Hour at the Alley Theatre and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. Alley Theatre is a participant of Blue Star Theatres, a program of Blue Star Families and Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the professional not-for-profit American theatre, with leadership support from the MetLife Foundation.


PLAY MAKERS Play Makers summer camps provided 379 students with 15,220 contact hours of arts integration and fun! Of these 379 students, 48 received partial or full scholarships thanks to the help of ECE sponsors. Five two-week sessions were available for students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Play Makers is so popular that in addition to Houston, a second site was added in Fort Bend. During the program, students learned about theatre and science, and created short plays about the concepts they explored such as metamorphosis, the solar system, and photosynthesis. Each session culminated with open workshop performances for students to showcase their plays for friends and family.

I'm so appreciative of all the extra efforts, passion, and creativity of your team making this a great experience. – Play Makers Parent Every day was fun. She enjoyed the games. She gave me a very sophisticated definition of acting. You greatly expanded her vocabulary. – Play Makers Parent


Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017


Teachers 10 Hours 184 Students 32 Contact Hours 5,888

In the Summer of 2016, Alley Conservatory brought together 32 promising young theatre artists from across the Greater Houston area for a fourth consecutive year. During the five-week intensive, both middle and high school students received training in acting, voice, movement, playwriting, and slam poetry from Alley master teaching artists. Throughout the process, students also put their newfound skills to use, devising an original piece of theatre. This year, Alley Conservatory implemented a new model for its devised theatre process, working with an extant text, The Wedding Reception was a modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The piece was enhanced by Houston Symphony’s Community Embedded Musicians, who provided Conservatory students the unique opportunity to work in tandem with live musicians.

Teen Council

This year the Alley launched its Teen Council program offering unique opportunities to deepen understanding of the inner workings of a professional theatre. Seventeen teenagers with an interest and talent in theatre, participated in theatre industry events with opportunities to engage face-to-face with theatre professionals. Activities included: attending invited dress rehearsal, presenting original works at program showcases and conferences, meet and greets with artists and staff and ushering for Alley productions.

For me, one thing that is unique about this project is how it comes together and how it is devised. Here's all of us kids with professionals making a show from scratch; that's something a lot of programs don't do. . . . As it goes on, you really see why it's important. – Anthony Daigle, Conservatory Student 8 Member of Teen Council


DREAM-HOUSTON During the 2016- 2017 season, the Alley celebrated Shakespeare’s 400-year legacy through DREAM-HOUSTON. Thanks to a grant from Arts Midwest, the Alley offered educational programing to complement Alley Theatre’s Shakespeare@400 celebrations. In addition to a myriad of activity around A Midsummer Night’s Dream, schools from across Greater Houston were invited to participate in special classes and events that celebrated the link between Shakespeare and slam poetry.

In-School Programs

The Alley offered special residencies that melded Shakespeare and slam poetry to create contemporary entry points for students to access Shakespeare’s often-difficult language. Through these workshops, students explored A Midsummer Night’s Dream, adapting scenes from the play with contemporary context or writing poems based on the play. By combining two of our most popular in-school offerings, we were able to awaken students’ inner-Bards. DREAM-HOUSTON wrapped up with The Bard’s Slam, a special Partner School showcase featuring student-generated scenes and poems based on Shakespeare’s text and plays from our Playwriting 360° residencies.

Student Matinees

The Alley presented three student matinee performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which were augmented by Alley TalkBacks and a dedicated Alley ReSourced digital guide. Re-Sourced guides have always featured videos that provide context on our productions. During the 2016-2017 season, we expanded this resource and created 11 instructional videos called Breaking Shakespeare. These videos explored the essentials of breaking down and performing Shakespeare’s text and included Syncing Ink playwright NSangou Njikam explaining the similarities between Shakespeare and hip-hop.

Shakespeare Saturdays

ECE hosted four Saturday events for families to experience the art behind A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Because Shakespeare can seem like a foreign language, each pre-show workshop was designed to help audience members understand the plot and explore the rhythm of Shakespeare’s language physically. Approximately 170 audience members participated.


Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017

It was fascinating to watch the lessons build meaningful connections between Midsummer and students’ lives. Students were out of their seats, happily and actively translating Shakespeare to scenarios of their own making. For the first time, they understood what it means when their teachers refer to his work as “timeless.” – Angela Apte, Creative Writing Teacher at HSPVA

Student Matinees 2,356 students from 59 schools

Residencies 17 schools and 4,667 students participated in our DREAM-HOUSTON residencies

"Breaking Shakespeare" Videos 779 views

TOTAL Shakespeare @ 400 Community Members: 7,398

DREAM-HOUSTON is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest presents Shakespeare in American Communities. Alley Theatre is one of 40 professional theater companies selected to participate in bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare to middle- and high-school students in communities across the United States. This is the 13th year of this national program, the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history.


ALLEY CHARACTER EDUCATION SERIES/OSKAR When I told students that Oskar was returning this year, they were very excited. The program was great for our at-risk school to provide entertainment for our students while sending an appropriate message. We have seen all of the shows and love them all! – Counselor at Horn Elementary School

In the fall of 2016, the Alley Theatre debuted a brand new Oskar production to tour Houston-area elementary schools. Oskar and the Big Bully Battle: Part 2! toured September through November and was extended by popular demand for three weeks in the spring. In this sixth installment of the Oskar series, a very thorny incident shocks the schoolyard. Oskar quickly rises to the occasion, donning his detective hat. In this wacky adventure about micro-aggression, Oskar learns that everyday comments can start a dangerous chain reaction that can stop a whole school in its tracks. Oskar and the Big Bully Battle: Part 2! encourages students to look at their everyday behaviors and emphasizes that even small rebuffs can hurt another’s feelings. Oskar learns to express empathy for bullies and victims which starts a school-wide healing process.



Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017



Alley Theatre’s student matinee activity increased this year with three performances of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, 10 of A Christmas Carol, and three of Syncing Ink. Each production included a TalkBack and dedicated Alley Re-Sourced guide.

I was surprised by the backstage tour and everything they need to prepare for an upcoming play.

I was surprised by going behind the scenes, hearing about all the work put into the show, and all the different career options possible in theatre.

Additionally, we designed and distributed a new survey this season to obtain student feedback on their theatre experience. The feedback we received from 268 surveys from students in 13 schools will help us refine our student matinee practices to better serve the needs of our students and schools.

Backstage Tour Spotlight

Alley Theatre tours grew substantially due to the 46 million dollar renovation of the Hubbard and 4th floor event rooms. We were eager to show off our new spaces to 940 people, twenty-two tours were from area schools reaching 759 students and 80 teachers and chaperones. One very special tour was offered to Seabrook Intermediate School’s Theatre program. The 30 students and teachers explored our Center for Theatre Production, synthesizing A Midsummer Night’s Dream from a technical theatre standpoint. Students were awestruck at the many aspects of producing a show of this caliber.

– Students from Seabrook Intermediate School


ALLEY RE-SOURCED Interact with the Lessons and History of Alley Theatre Productions at

Launched in 2015, Alley Re-Sourced is America’s premier educational dramaturgy platform. Through this first-of-its-kind website, audience members can engage with Alley productions and backsstage tours with just a click. According to Google Analytics, a total of 1,815 users accessed Re-Sourced 2,577 times during the 2016 -2017 season. Re-Sourced’s average user spent 2 minutes 43 seconds on the site, and more than 240 users logged on for more than 10 minutes. Compared to today’s average time spent on a website of 59 seconds, these are impressive numbers (Nielsen Norman Group).

Alley Re-Sourced 2016-2017 Season Usage (Google Analytics) Production A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Dream-Houston)




YouTube Views

1,081 766 3,029 779

Oskar and the Big Bully 405 290 2,088 202 Battle: Part 2! (Alley Character Education Series) A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas

510 404 2,200 526

Syncing Ink

319 223 963 135

2016 - 2017 Season Totals*



*Includes use of past guides


Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017




In addition to our outstanding productions, Alley Theatre provides a forum for theatre’s original purpose: discussion. We invite audiences to join us at select performances for a series of dialogues about our work on stage. Three types of discussions were offered during the 2016 -2017 Season.

Artist TalkBacks

Alley patrons attended post-show Artist TalkBacks with cast and members of the artistic staff after select performances. These question-and-answer sessions were held in the Theatre immediately following the performance.

Alley In Context

Alley In Context is a post-show panel featuring civic leaders, distinguished academics, and area professionals discussing the themes of a play and how they are reflected in our lives today. Among the topics discussed were adolescent depression and the church’s methods for dealing with loss for Hand to God, the world of private equity for Dry Powder, and the importance of spoken word and the Houston hip-hop scene for Syncing Ink. This season’s Alley In Context discussions also included conversations with Playwright Robert Askins (Hand to God); Playwright Sarah Burgess (Dry Powder); Playwright and Actor NSangou Njikam (Syncing Ink); Bookwriter Bridget Carpenter (Freaky Friday); and Artistic Director Gregory Boyd and Associate Director James Black, who discussed working on Shakespeare’s plays at the Alley during our run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Designer Talks

A new program established this season, Designer Talks, give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the design process. One hour prior to the Sunday matinee preview performance of each production, Alley Associate Director of Design, Kevin Rigdon, leads a discussion with the production’s creative team. These talks offer audiences an exclusive opportunity to ask questions about the designer’s work and learn how they brought the script to life.



Houston Arts Partners (HAP) is a coalition between Houstonarea arts organizations and school districts’ fine-arts departments. HAP’s sixth annual conference was held at the Alley Theatre, September 9-10. Alley Director of Education & Community Engagement, Mary Sutton served as cochair. Nearly 1,000 teachers, administrators, and artists attended keynotes by Eric Booth, father of the teaching artist profession, and Adele Diamond, one of the most influential neuroscientists alive today. Special panels and workshops offered professional development for educators. Alley staff presented panels in five different sessions about topics such as arts integration, education trends, and funding innovative partnerships. The conference affirmed the Alley’s position as a leader in arts education and arts integration in Houston and on the national stage. I wanted to thank you so much for allowing our students to experience your wonderful sensory theatre! They loved it so much, and it was truly inspiring as an educator! – Rebecca Brummett Coslow, Theatre Director at Heights High School

VSA Performing Arts Access for Kids Program

Through a VSA grant, Alley staff offered a sensory theatre experience of A Christmas Carol to 17 students with profound and multiple learning disabilities. Following a performance of the play, students were taken to a Victorian wonderland designed to engage all of the senses. Students played with Victorian toys, tasted holiday treats, felt snow from the production, sang carols, and dressed up in Victorian costumes. Staff performed a special sensory rendition of A Christmas Carol for students who received tactile offerings, such as Jacob Marley’s chains, that heightened important moments from the story.


Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017

INTERNSHIPS Alley Theatre Internships provide hands-on training for those planning to pursue careers in theatre, arts administration or nonprofit marketing and management. Interns participate in and observe a professional theatre environment, guided and directed by experienced managers and directors, and are entrusted with a great deal of responsibility. During the 2016-2017 season, 33 interns worked closely with Alley staff, artists, and craftspeople to increase their skills, sharpen their business acumen, learn instrumental theatre techniques, gaining professional theatre industry experience.

“Now that my internship is over, I can definitely see myself going into education. It has always been an important part of life to me, but I've never realized or saw first hand the effect that theatre education has on audiences, especially young audiences. I believe theatre gives life and color to education that other classroom activities or teaching methods cannot. It’s unique in its approach and adds a sense of vibrancy to the material being taught while making it fun. I believe theatre education is just as important now as it has ever been. With the rise of technology in society and in the classroom, I believe some children are missing out on the benefits that theatre has on the development of their creativity. I believe we need to help create a more emotionally intelligent society and theatre education can do that. I want to help create that change.” – Eliseo Valerio, Stanford University, Education and Community Engagement Intern

Elizabeth Bunch and Paul Hope



Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017

Photos by: Christopher Diaz Photography, John Everett, Josh Hardcastle, Cressandra Thibodeaux, and Cristina Vaglienty.

EDUCATION & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Mary Sutton, Director Cathy Bencivenga, Executive Manager Sarah Bassinger, Staging STEM Manager Michelle Edwards, In-School Programs Manager Mara McGhee, Community Programs Coordinator Audrey Burkhard, Staging STEM Coordinator Josh Hardcastle, Dramaturg & Curriculum Specialist Dancy Lukeman, Sales & Marketing Coordinator Luis Galindo, Master Teaching Artist Courtney Tee, Intern

TEACHING ARTISTS Sarah Beckham Brendan Bourque-Sheil Zach Bryant Jason Duga Scott Gibbs Cara Goodman Philip Hays Joshua Inocencio Rachel Jenkins Robin Johnson

Dayne Lathrop Susan Ly David Matranga Emily Neves Ally Oliphint Carian Parker Rain Jasmine Thomas Bradley Dean Whyte Whitney Zangarine

Applied Theatre at the Alley 713.315.5424


Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement Annual Report 2016 -2017

Profile for Alley Theatre

Alley Theatre Education and Community Engagement Annual Report  

Learn about all the activities provided by the Alley Theatre's Education and Community Engagement work in Houston. We are pleased to serve...

Alley Theatre Education and Community Engagement Annual Report  

Learn about all the activities provided by the Alley Theatre's Education and Community Engagement work in Houston. We are pleased to serve...