The city of Houston in Texas is famously nicknamed the Space City, being the prominent center of activity by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and playing an important role as regards space exploration. But more than this, Houston features an active performing and visual arts scene.
The city is one of the few in the US that offers resident companies in all main performing arts. Its Theater District, a seventeen-block area at the heart of downtown Houston, hosts nine performing arts organizations, a 12,000sqm entertainment complex, and various restaurants and plazas.
The fourth largest city in the US is home to the Houston Ballet and its associate school, the Ben Stevenson Academy. The company presents nearly seventy-five performances annually at the Wortham Theater Center. The Houston Symphony, meanwhile, performs at the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts.
Established in 1955, the Houston Grand Opera has given forty world premieres, including Robert Moran and James Skofield’s The Dracula Diary in 1994, Jackie O by Michael Daugherty and Wayne Koestenbaum in 1997, and Mark Adamo’s Little Women in 1998. It has also staged six American premieres. Among these were The Panther and Akhnaten by Philip Glass. The Houston Grand Opera productions have toured not only within the US, but also to Paris, Milan, Berlin and Japan.
The world premieres of various stage plays such as The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, Jekyll & Hyde, Not About Nightingales and The Civil War were held at Houston’s Tony Award-winning Alley Theater. The resident theater company was founded in 1947 by Nina Eloise Whittington Vance.