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The Ensemble Theatre Celebrates 2015 Annual Celebrity Gala: Mayor Annise Parker Receives The Ensemble Theatre Founder’s Award

The Ensemble Theatre celebrates its 39th uninterrupted season as Houston’s premier African American performing arts institution with its gala themed: Follow the Dream: Celebrating the Empire” taking place on Saturday, August 15, 2015 at 6:30 pm at the Hilton Americas – Houston. This year’s gala co-chairs include The Ensemble Theatre board members Argentina James, Scott Minnix, and Jesse Tyson.

“We are celebrating the diversity and growth of Houston along with its commitment to sustaining the arts,” says Argentina James, Gala Co-Chair. “The Ensemble Theatre is part of that growth with its history as the anchoring artistic institution in Midtown, and building towards its 40th Anniversary.”

Mayor Annise Parker

Mayor Annise Parker, Founder’s Award recipient, is being recognized for her years of service to the Houston Community and passionate support of the arts through the Houston Arts Alliance. She is one of only two women to hold the City’s highest elected office, and the only person in Houston history to hold the offices of council member, controller and mayor.


Schlumberger, Corporate Partner of the Year, is a dedicated corporate citizen in the Houston community. Through the Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development program, Schlumberger focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)  education for K – recruiting.  Schlumberger recognizes the link between STEM and the Arts, and their partnership with The Ensemble Theatre spans more than 15 years of board service volunteerism and financial support to The Ensemble’s annual gala and various youth initiatives.


Irma P. Hall, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient was born in Beaumont, Texas, but her family ultimately settled in Dallas where she later founded the Dallas Minority Repertory Theater.  She is a graduate of Texas College in Tyler, Texas and was an educator in her early career before cultivating her interests in acting. She has a long list of acting credits, but is widely recognized for her role as Big Mama Joseph in the box office hit movie Soul Food. She is currently working on projects to help young independent filmmakers.

Attica Locke

Attica Locke, Producer of the Year Award recipient is a Houston born and raised, award winning author, and writer and co-producer of the widely popular hit FOX TV series Empire starring actors Terrance Howard and Taraji P. Henson. She’s also written scripts for Paramount, Warner Bros, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, and HBO. Her second book, The Cutting Season, published by Dennis Lehane books, is a national bestseller, and is a winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.  She was most recently in Houston promoting her third book Pleasantville.

Katlynn Simone (11)

Katlynn Simone, Rising Star Award recipient was born and raised in Houston and one of The Ensemble Theatre Young Performers Program alumna. She also attended the High School for Visual and Performing Arts where she focused on musical theatre. While still in school she auditioned and landed the role she is currently playing as “Brittany Pitts aka Brit Brat” on BET’s “The Game,” and is an emerging music recording artist.

The celebration will continue at The Ensemble Theatre on Sunday, August 16th at 2 pm with the community subscriber’s party and “Giorgee Awards,” The Ensemble’s own version of the Tony’s, affectionately named after the theatre’s founder George W. Hawkins. Each year, ballots are sent to audience members to vote, and The Giorgee Awards are presented in recognition of the best actors, designers, and overall productions seen at The Ensemble Theatre the previous year.

About the Ensemble Theatre

The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins to preserve African American artistic expression and enlighten, entertain and enrich a diverse community. In addition to being the oldest and largest professional African-American theatre in the Southwest, it also holds the distinction of being one of the nation’s largest African-American theatres that owns and operates its facility with an in-house production team.

The Ensemble Theatre produces a main stage season of contemporary and classic works devoted to the portrayal of the African American experience by local and national playwrights and artists. The theatre’s Performing Arts Education program provides educational workshops, Artist-in-Residence experiences and live performances for students both off-site and at the theatre; and the Young Performers Program offers intensive summer training for children ages six to 17 encompassing instruction in all disciplines of the theatre arts.

The Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002, 713.520.0055,

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