Living Legend: Eileen J. Morris
HOUSTON — Acres Home resident Eileen J. Morris is the Artistic Director of Houston’s The Ensemble Theatre, one of the largest African American theatres in the world that owns its facility with over a $2 million budget. A native of Chicago, Illinois, she attended Northern Illinois University (BA, 1977) where she majored in Theatre and minored in English. She also has a certificate in Theatre Management from Dartmouth College (1998). Her professional career in the arts was just beginning when she relocated to Houston and met The Ensemble Theatre founder George W. Hawkins. They bonded through their passion to develop a space in Houston where African American artists could come together and hone their skills. Her work with Hawkins spanned from 1982 until his death in 1990.
Eileen has produced over 87 productions which include eight world premieres, over 64 regional premieres, and has directed over 82 productions throughout her career. In April, she will receive the USITT Thomas DeGaetani Award for her contributions to the performing arts community in Texas. She received Broadway World Houston’s 2018 Best Director Award for Sassy Mamas and the 2016 Houston Press Theater Award for Best Director of August Wilson’s Fences. In 2017, she was named one of Houston Women Magazine’s 50 Most Influential Women. That year, she also received the Black Theatre Network’s Larry Leon Hamlin Award and the BCCM Kim Kupp Award.
Eileen is among five female artistic leaders recently selected as the first in the Nation awarded part of a $1.25 million gift of The Pussycat Foundation and Northern Stage in support of women artistic directors in professional theaters across the United States. Each of the Artistic Directors chosen for the BOLD Circle (The BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle grant) has demonstrated artistic excellence and a deep impact on community. The leaders have also demonstrated a strong history of mentoring, and will work together to elevate the next generation of artistic directors.
Eileen currently serves as secretary on the board of the Theatre Communications Group. She also serves as board member, secretary and Cultural Arts Committee Chair of the Midtown Management District, consultant of the Black Theatre Network and is a newly appointed advisory board member of the Houston Cinema Arts Society.
Her most recent Ensemble Theatre directing credits include School Girls; Or the African Mean Girls Play, More Than Christmas, Freeda Peoples, Too Heavy For Your Pocket, ‘da kink in my hair, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Eighth Day of the Week, Front Porch Society, Sassy Mamas, Plenty of Time, Detroit ’67, What I Learned in Paris, Women in the Pit, and By the Way Meet Vera Stark to name a few. Eileen also has numerous directing credits in Pittsburgh, directing annually at Pittsburgh’s New Horizon Theatre. Notably, Eileen holds the distinction of being the only woman in the country to direct eight of August Wilson’s 10-play American Century Cycle. This August Wilson quote embodies her creative journey: “Art does not change the world; it changes people; and people change the world.” www.ensemblehouston.com.
October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com
As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.
Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.