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The Ensemble Theatre was recently elated to receive a BOLD Theatre Women’s Leadership Grant of $250,000, which helped the troupe hire a female artistic associate and commission two female playwrights for 2018-19. Additionally, the grant supports women designers for costumes, lights and sets. Only five BOLD Theatre Grants were awarded across the country.
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Ensemble Theatre puts on six plays a year, meaning a new production hits the stage every two months. While their specialty is African-American stories, executive director Janette Cosley says the sky is really the limit when it comes to the theatre pieces.
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From the Ensemble Theatre website: “The theatre has evolved from a touring company operating from the trunk of Mr. Hawkins’ car to being one of Houston’s finest historical cultural institutions. The Ensemble is one of the only professional theatres in the region dedicated to the production of works portraying the African American experience, the oldest and largest professional African American theatre in the Southwest, and holds the distinction of being one of the nation’s largest African American theatres owning and operating its facility and producing in-house.”
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Recalls executive director Janette Cosley: “We put on a black version of Cinderella one year. I’ll never forget this one mother-daughter duo and the daughter’s reaction when she saw the actress on the cover of the playbill and said ‘Look, Mom! She looks like me. It’s heartwarming to know each audience member has been touched in some profound way.”