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The Ensemble Selects Eileen J. Morris As Artistic Director

Morris Returns To Artistic Leadership of Historic Theatre Entering Its 30th Production Season

HOUSTON, Aug. 10, 2006 -- The Ensemble Theatre selects Eileen J. Morris as Artistic Director for The Ensemble Theatre. Effective September 5, 2006, Morris will rejoin The Ensemble in time to help kick-off the theatre's 30 Anniversary Season themed "Encore of Excellence - 30 Years Strong & Growing." As the Artistic Director, Morris will manage the Ensemble's repertoire of six main stage productions, an aggressive tour education program, the young performers program and other projects that advance the artistic mission of the theatre. As part of the strategic development of The Ensemble, Morris will drive the artistic vision and the theatre's quest to become widely recognized as a high quality performing arts venue. Morris rejoins The Ensemble at an exciting time as one of the largest African American theatres in the southwestern U.S. which plans to present an anniversary season of productions that best reflects the vision of The Ensemble's late founder George Hawkins. The Ensemble anticipates it will reach an unprecedented subscriber goal of 3,000 subscribers for its main stage productions and provide outreach to 30,000 youth through the theatre's free tour education program.

"In the spirit of Sankofa that says we must go back and reclaim our past in order to move forward so that we understand why and how we came to be who we are, we celebrate The Ensemble's 30th Anniversary Season; we come together as a community that recognizes the importance of the arts as the fabric that shapes not only the past but our present and future," says Morris.

Morris will return to Houston from Pittsburgh where she has served as the managing director of Kuntu Repertory Theatre at the University of Pittsburgh for the past seven years. Morris has a 24-year professional career in the arts which includes teaching, acting (film and theatre) and directing. Her directorial experiences consist of staging more than 50 theatre productions. She is the immediate past president of the Black Theatre Network (BNT) where she also held several leadership positions over the past 12 years. Her volunteer efforts include serving as president of Pittsburgh's Xpressions Dance Company, Treasurer of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance, and Texas Non-Profit Theatre boards. She has also served on artistic review panels for: Cultural Arts Council of Houston Harris County (CACHH), The Texas Commission on the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Heinz Endowment. In recognition of her work, she has received the Outstanding Texans for the Arts, Houston Chapter of the YWCA's Outstanding Woman in the Arts and several Onyx awards from The African American Council on the Arts for directing and acting. She holds a B.A. in theatre from Northern Illinois University with training from the prestigious Tuck School of Business-Dartmouth College.

While Morris will officially start on Sept. 5th, she will assist in a consulting capacity to help in a smooth transition with the launching of the season. "The Ensemble has been fortunate to achieve many accomplishments over the past 30 years and we are confident and excited that Eileen will assist us in furthering our mission and purpose. We look forward to working with Eileen to provide quality theatre productions that reflect the rich African American culture and experiences," said Board President Micheal Helm.


Founded by the late George Hawkins, The Ensemble Theatre is celebrating 30 years of uninterrupted performances during its 2006-2007 Season. Each year, the theatre presents an annual repertoire of six critically acclaimed dramas, comedies and musicals that demonstrate the artistic ability of professional local, regional and national artists and support staff. The Ensemble is one of the largest African American professional theatre companies in the U.S. that produces its plays in-house, has a comprehensive educational outreach initiative and owns its own facility. The theatre is a non-profit organization with an annual operating budget of $1.5 million. Located at 3535 Main Street in the heart of Midtown Houston, the theatre has three stages with a total seating capacity of 725. In keeping with the late founder's vision, The Ensemble also has an educational touring program year and a summer young performers training program. For more information or to subscribe to our season, visit the website at or call (713) 520-0055.

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