The Ensemble Theatre continues its 40th Anniversary Season celebration with the world premiere of THE FRONT PORCH SOCIETY. This drama/comedy was written by Melda Beaty, and directed by The Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris. Beaty is an author, playwright, and English professor. Her play,THE FRONT PORCH SOCIETY has been part of several stage readings across the country. A reading at The Robey Theatre in Los Angeles, California included actors Loretta Devine, Marla Gibbs, and Ted Lange among the noted cast.
About the Play: It’s November 4, 2008 in Marks, Mississippi, and America is on the eve of electing its first Black president. But what does that mean to 4 elderly women in this rural town, especially Carrie Honey, the town’s “overseer,” as she grieves the anniversary of her son’s tragic death amidst the town’s excitement over Barack Obama. After years of failed attempts to seek justice, Carrie has grown bitter and no longer interested in life’s celebrations, until a scandal at the cemetery rocks this historic day, and a past secret is revealed that restores her faded faith.
Cast members for the world premiere production includes Michele Harrell, Gwen Harris, Tamara Siler, Rachel Hemphill Dickson, Dannette McElory-Davis, Jason Carmichael, and Kendrick ”KAYB” Brown.
The Ensemble Theatre’s 2016-2017 Season is sponsored in part by grants from The Humphreys Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. United Airlines is the official airline sponsor for The Ensemble Theatre.
The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins to preserve African American artistic expression and to enlighten, entertain, and enrich a diverse community. Forty years later, 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 a few 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, it holds the distinction of being one of the nation’s largest African American theatres owning and operating its facility and producing in-house. Board President Emeritus Audrey Lawson led the capital campaign for The Ensemble’s $4.5 million building renovations that concluded in 1997. The Ensemble Theatre has fulfilled and surpassed the vision of its founder and continues to expand and create innovative programs to bring African American theatre to myriad audiences.