Director, translator, teacher, and writer: Such is the Alley Theatre's description of their just-announced new artistic director the Rob Melrose. The award-winning director who co-founded San Francisco’s edgy Cutting Ball Theater will take the artistic director position in 2019, perhaps bringing a new perspective and vision to Houston’s oldest theater company.
“Rob is an exceptional theatrical director who is innovative, creative, and has an uncanny ability to both surprise and delight audiences,” says managing director Dean Gladden. “He has a collaborative working style and his commitment to the community make him the perfect choice for the Alley. He is dedicated to nurturing and expanding the Resident Company, and I look forward to partnering with him to continue to enable the Alley to flourish as a flagship theatre company in America.”
Alley sources highlight Melrose’s 20-year career directing new and experimental works while also creating new visions of classics. Beyond his experience as artistic director of Cutting Ball, he has also directed nationally, including works at the Public Theater, Guthrie Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the Old Globe. He will likely bring all this artistic experience to a Houston theatrical institute still recovering and restoring itself from a year of fraught changes and challenges, from Hurricane Harvey to the abrupt retirement of former artistic director Gregory Boyd and the subsequent controversies.
“I’ve always thought of the Alley as the home to great artists, and I am thrilled to lead the Theatre into this new chapter,” stated Melrose at the announcement of his selection. “The Alley has an exceptional history with high artistic standards and an appetite for risk and innovation. I am looking forward to pushing that path forward by strengthening and broadening the Resident Company, encouraging artistic collaboration, growing a culture where artists and staff are at ease, and most importantly creating productions and cultivating an audience that are as diverse and vibrant as the city of Houston.”
Melrose plans to relocate to Houston early next year to begin planning the 2019-2020 season, with interim artistic director, and long time company member, James Black staying on in the position for the rest of the 2018-2019 season.
The Alley is currently preparing for its next production, the Houston holiday theatrical tradition, A Christmas Carol, which Black will both star in as Scrooge and direct.