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Nina Vance and The Alley Theatre: A Life's Work

About the Exhibit

In October 1947 Nina Vance mailed 214 postcards
featuring the simple question: “Do you want a new
theater for Houston?” More than one hundred people
met in a crowded room a few days later to confirm that
yes, in fact, they did. This was the birth of Houston’s
Tony Award-winning Alley Theatre. From its modest
beginnings in a dance studio on Main Street, to a
converted fan factory on Berry Avenue, to a
state-of-the-art building downtown, the road to
becoming the nationally recognized theatre
it is today was paved with talent,
generosity, and hard work. The
woman behind it all remained the same,
Nina Vance. As the theatre’s founder and
artistic director for more than thirty years, Vance
was a guiding force for the theatre and worked
tirelessly to see it become a Houston institution.

Using a variety of materials, including programs, photographs, articles, correspondence, and other memorabilia from the Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers, this exhibit provides insight into the early years of the Alley Theatre, its rise to prominence, and its role in Houston’s development as a progressive city of the arts. It also chronicles the life of Nina Vance, the woman who made this theater her life’s work.

Nine Vance sitting


1st Floor MD Anderson Library


October 24 – May 8, 2015


Catherine Essinger

Stacey Lavender


Alley Theatre exterior
Permalink: http://info.lib.uh.edu/p/alley-theatre