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Theatre New West and The Center announce new theater program

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The Group (Theatre Workshop) is back!

After an absence of more than 20 years, the Workshop—which served as  a “cooperative playground” for all things theatrical, met weekly in the mid 1980s, and was a great success—returns on Monday evenings at the Houston GLBT Community Center.  Beginning on July 11, the Workshop will meet on Mondays, 7-9:30 p.m., at The Center (1900 Kane).  The revived Group (Theatre Workshop) is a partnership between Theatre New West, the GLBT theatrical company, and The Center.

The Group (Theatre Workshop) was founded by Theatre New West artistic director Joe Watts, generally considered the father of gay theater in Houston.  Joe Watts has been strongly involved in Houston’s theatrical community for more than 35 years as a producer, writer, director, actor, teacher and critic.  He has acted in about 75 productions and directed about 60.

The purpose of The Group workshop is to give theatrically inclined individuals—including hopeful actors, writers, and directors—a place to learn, explore, and nurture their skills.  There is no charge to participate.  Donations to The Center are welcomed.

“The Center is thrilled to partner with Joe on the revival of The Group (Theatre Workshop),” Center president Tim Brookover says.  “There is so much talent and potential talent in our community.  As an outstanding teacher and director, Joe is the ideal person to channel all that talent.

“Theatre New West has been a steadfast supporter of The Center for years—most recently with the benefit performance of The Normal Heart on World AIDS Day,” Brookover continued.  “Joe was also involved in the founding of the Montrose Activity Center—a previous effort to establish a center in our community—so we like to think he is coming full circle with this new partnership.”

The Workshop’s major outreach is to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community but is open to everyone.

Interested writers should bring a one- to three-minute monologue to be worked on at the Workshop.  Individuals interested in directing may end up working with monologues provided by the playwrights participating in the Workshop.

As director, Joe Watts will also provide other monologues and/or scenes, some of which he wrote, which include:

Joe’s Fairy Tales.
A evening of theater pieces written by Joe Watts.  Pieces run the gamut from an explosive 10-minute play between a gay man and his mother (“Lost Redemption”) to a 15-minute comedy (“Home”) based on the last scene of

”The Wizard of Oz.”
These pieces can be worked on at the Workshop, and at some point will receive full productions.

The Penis Monologues.
Obviously, the title is a play on the well-known “Vagina Monologues.”  Seven male monologues can be worked on at the Workshop, and as with “Joe’s Fairy Tales” a future full production will result.

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!
This original production will consist of coming-out stories from Houston’s GLBT community.  The stories will cover all emotions from heart-stopping to heart-warming.  There will be 10-12 stories, each about 10 minutes in length.  Stories must be written and submitted to Joe Watts. The production will include an original song with each story.  Members from the local GLBT musical community will pick which story they feel they can best write for.  The production will have its world premiere as part of Pride week in 2012, if not sooner.  Interested story writers are ask to email their coming-out stories to [email protected]

For details about The Group (Theatre Workshop) and any of these new programs with The Center, call Joe Watts at 713.522.2204 or email to [email protected]  Updated activities of the Workshop will be posted at www.theatrenewwest.com (click on “Special Programs”).

The Houston GLBT Community Center is home base for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies in the metropolitan area and southeast Texas.  Founded by a group of dedicated activists in 1996, the Center is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization celebrating 15 years of service to the community in 2011.

The Center is located at the landmark Dow School (1900 Kane) in the Old Sixth Ward Historic District.  The main Center entrance is the Silver Street door at the corner of Silver and Lubbock streets (look for the Center sign above the door). The Center website is www.houstonglbtcommunity.org .  The phone number is 713-524-3818.

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