The Ensemble Theatre has long been a center for the history, culture, and artistic expression of African American theatre arts in the City of Houston. Founded by George Hawkins in 1976, The Ensemble Theatre has grown to become a beacon of Black excellence and a focal point of Black history in the making, not only in the City of Houston, but across the Nation. That is the very legacy that will be awarded at this year’s National Black Theatre Festival. The Ensemble Theatre will receive the Theatre Longevity Award at the Opening Night Gala Awards Banquet on Monday, August 1, 2022 as a part of the historic National Black Theatre Festival. In addition to receiving this prestigious award, The Ensemble Theatre is also scheduled to perform the production Too Heavy For Your Pocket.
Too Heavy For Your Pocket originally debuted at The Ensemble Theatre during the 2018-2019 season. Too Heavy For Your Pocket is a beautifully written play by Jireh Breon Holder and directed by The Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris that takes place in rural Tennessee during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. It is the story of two young couples who struggle to understand justice, love, and their own responsibilities. When one of the young men, Bowzie, gets a scholarship to attend Fisk University, he has the opportunity to improve his family’s life. His education goes beyond the classroom, as he becomes a Freedom Rider and joins the fight against racism in the Deep South, leaving his obligations as a husband and friend behind. This play takes a closer look at the personal cost and private struggles behind public events. Too Heavy For Your Pocket speaks powerfully about the bonds of friendship and what defines true family. Performances for Too Heavy For Your Pocket will take place at the Salem College Elberson Fine Arts Center-Drama Workshop Theatre at 412 Rams Dr., Winston-Salem, NC. The Ensemble Theatre is scheduled to perform on Friday, August 5 at 8PM, Saturday, August 6 at 2PM and again on Saturday, August 6 at 8PM.
The National Black Theatre Festival was founded by Larry Leon Hamlin and is produced by the North Carolina Repertory Company. The National Black Theatre Festival is a biannual International artistic festival that highlights the history, culture, artistic expressions and advances in the arena of the Black theatre globally. Held at what has been coined “Black Theatre Holy Ground,” the National Black Theatre Festival not only showcases, promotes and highlights Black theatre, but also contains artistic expressions and performances in the areas of film, music, spoken word, fashion, academia and fine art. The National Black Theatre Festival also features seminars, workshops, open mic events, gallery tours and traditional African-style open-air markets. Over 30 theatre companies from across the world are invited to perform at the festival. The National Black Theatre Festival will take place from August 1, 2022-August 6, 2022 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The Ensemble Theatre proudly invites interviews and press coverage from our local media, as this is a legendary moment, not only for The Ensemble Theatre, but for the entire African American and Artistic communities in the City of Houston.