Explore the Productions

Alley All New Reading Series

The Alley All New Reading Series, presented throughout the season, provides a key developmental step for playwrights while allowing Houston audiences to discover exciting new plays before they receive world premiere productions.

Readings play a major role in the development of new work, enabling artists to hear their writing out loud in front of an audience. Following a limited rehearsal period, actors perform at music stands allowing the audience to hear the dialogue while imagining the production through spoken stage directions.


past reading


BY Liz Duffy Adams
oCTOBER 28, 2019

An aging authoritarian ruler, a violent police state, a restless polarized people seething with paranoia: it’s a dangerous time for poets. Two of them—the great Kit Marlowe and the up-and-comer Will Shakespeare—meet in the back room of a pub to collaborate on a history play cycle, navigate the perils of art under a totalitarian regime, and flirt like young men with everything to lose. One of them may well be the death of the other.

NSangou Njikam

Past Reading


BY NSangou Njikam
DIRECTED BY Tiffany Nichole Greene
June 10, 2019

In the latest play from the author of Syncing Ink (Alley Theatre World Premiere 2017), Brenda Simmons is in the fight of her life. Formerly a Black nationalist, now Brenda battles racism in Congress but it’s taking its toll on her career, her reputation, and her family. When a new bill is introduced that could unfairly incarcerate millions and things seem like they couldn’t get any worse, a mysterious organization appears, claiming they have the solution for racial peace: African Americans must return home to Africa. The nation must face the possibility of an America without African Americans. And Brenda Simmons must choose whether to fight for her country or her people.

Beth Henley

Past Reading

LIGHTNING (or The Unbuttoning)

By Beth Henley
April 29, 2019

Join us as we present a reading of Beth Henley’s latest play LIGHTNING (or The Unbuttoning) on the set of her Pulitzer-prize winning classic Crimes of the Heart (running April 12 - May 5). At surreal altitudes in a cabin in the Blue Mountains, a young woman leads a lonely life surrounded by the clouds, until one day a traveling salesman trudges up the mountain to sell her a lightning rod in the midst of a brewing storm. A theatrical and captivating story of resilience and determination in a most unforgiving world.


Past Reading


By Jennifer Haley
Directed by Leslie Swackhamer
March 18, 2019

In this new play from the author of The Nether, Emily and Darren enjoy a creative and well-meaning life; he’s a celebrated architect, designer of their breathtaking green home in the hills of Los Angeles, and she’s an urban planner launching an eco-charity on the other side of the world. But when his future projects collapse in the wake of devastating fires, they suddenly find themselves in survival mode and must call upon a host of potential saviors: a long-time adversary, a reality television producer, an ancient creature unearthed in the backyard… Will they find a way to live sustainably, or is the beast already at their door?

Eleanor Burgess

Past Reading

Wife of a Salesman

By Eleanor Burgess
Directed by Brandon Weinbrenner
December 3, 2018

1950. A housewife from Brooklyn takes a bus up to Boston to confront the woman who has been sleeping with her husband. A riff on Death of A Salesman about where women fit in the American dream from the author of The Niceties, which just completed a run off-Broadway.

Landing on he Bayou

Past REading

A Landing on the Bayou

By Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin
November 8 - 9, 2018

A multi-media artist’s lecture/performance exploring Houston’s diverse, rich and political drag scene in the years between the Stonewall Riots and the beginning of the AIDS epidemic (1969-1985). 

Ashley Austin Morris

Past Reading

The End of There

written and performed by Ashley Austin Morris
April 16, 2018

Actor-comedian Ashley Austin Morris (Alley’sThe Other Place) invites you to join her at the theatre, where she feels most at home, as she attempts to answer the question “Where are you from?”

Claire Kiechel

past Reading


By Claire Kiechel
March 13, 2017

Pilgrims is a sly commentary on the American present set in the future. 

Event Image

Past Reading

On the Exhale

By Martin Zimmerman
September 19, 2016

On The Exhale offers a complex examination of our relationship to guns as we follow one woman down a rabbit hole of grief.

Evan Zes

Past Reading

Rent Control

Written and performed by Evan Zes
March 28, 2016

Evan Zes portrays a barrage of colorful, international personalities as he shares the wild yet true story of his New York apartment.