Arts & Culture

Theater District Open House: A Performing Arts Prologue

Ernie Manouse previews the upcoming Theater District Open House with Theater District CEO Kathryn McNiel.

The TransCanada Theater District Open House celebrates its 23rd year this coming Sunday, August 28th! Throughout the week, we’ll be releasing interviews with some of the major arts organizations located in Houston’s Theater District, discussing events at the Open House itself, as well as highlights from upcoming seasons.

Kathryn McNiel, CEO of Theater District Houston, talked with Houston Public Media’s Ernie Manouse about the open house and described it as very different from where it started twenty three years prior, and in her words, “We’re much more of a street festival experience. We’re really trying to expand into it so [that] you’ve got art out on the streets and art in the theaters.”

Some of the various activities for the Open House include performances throughout the day by groups like Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Symphony, stage combat demonstrations, tango lessons, an instrument “petting zoo,” and so much more. And though McNiel played coy, she hinted at some surprises that might pop up in the street during the day.

When asked about the importance of an event like this in Houston, McNiel named two important factors: the attention it brings to the city, and the rich cultural diversity it provides. Houston is often cited as being one of a few major cities in the U.S. to have full-time professional companies in opera, ballet, music, and theater altogether, and the Open House provides an opportunity for audiences to preview these organizations completely free. “You don’t have to be intimidated. You don’t have to worry about buying a ticket. You can come down and experience everything…” says McNiel about the event.

The TransCanada Theater District Open House begins next Sunday, August 28th at noon and runs until 5 PM. Check back in with Houston Public Media throughout the week for interviews with the Alley Theatre, Society for the Performing Arts, Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Symphony, Broadway at the Hobby Center, and Houston Ballet!

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