updated 9/23/2010 12:16:17 PM ET 2010-09-23T16:16:17

HOUSTON, Sept. 23, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ensemble Theatre announces its new young professionals group called Act One with a pre kick-off mixer at Bistro Calais, Thursday, September 30, 2010, 5:00P.M.-7:00P.M.

Act One was created as a unique way to unite The Ensemble Theatre's growing community of young artists and professionals with an increasing interest in how they can contribute to sustaining the institution. They are recognized as the theatre's next generation of leaders who will support the theatre's annual membership campaign and eventually develop into volunteer and fundraising support.

"Many of us who serve on The Ensemble Theatre's Board of Directors today, started out as general patrons, and volunteers," says Jackie Phillips, The Ensemble Theatre Board President. "As we progressed in our careers and built strong professional relationships, we also progressed in our ability to be of greater support to the theatre."

Carl McGowan and Pamela Ulmer, long time subscribers, have been appointed as Chair and Co-Chair to lead Act One through its inaugural year. Other steering committee members include: Tracy Guillory, Angelique Bartholomew, Henry Mosley, and Crystal Washington.

Act One Pre Kick-Off Mixer
Thursday, September 30, 2010
5:00P.M. – 7:00P.M.

Bistro Calais
2811 Bammel Ln.
Houston, TX 77098

For membership details: 713-520-0055 orhttp://www.ensemblehouston.com/ActOne/actone.html.

"We are all excited about having a more formalized vehicle to help support The Ensemble Theatre," says McGowan. "All of us enjoy the theatre's productions, and look forward to bringing out other professionals to see the value in supporting one of Houston's finest cultural institutions."

The Ensemble Theatre board, staff, and artists have worked diligently to strengthen the theatre's artistic programming and continue building its base of support. The process not only includes cultivating audiences and donors, but establishing a pool of future leaders.

"Today, we are excited to witness a new generation of leaders to whom we may one day pass the baton," says Phillips.

Act One season ticket memberships will be available for purchase during the kick-off event. Throughout the season, Act One members will be invited to mixers before each show on their calendar of events, private meet and greets with the cast, and exclusive networking functions.

"Houston is a progressive city and a growing city, full of vibrant people hungry for the type of quality entertainment you'll see at The Ensemble," says McGowan. "Through Act One, we want to make those individuals the subscribers, volunteers and patrons of the theatre for its next 34 years."

The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins to preserve African American artistic expression and to enlighten, entertain, and enrich a diverse community. The theatre is known as the only professional theatre in its region dedicated to the production of works portraying the African American experience. In addition to being the oldest and largest professional African American theatre in the Southwest, it also holds the distinction of being one of the nation's largest African American theatres that owns and operates its facility with an in-house production team. Board President Emeritus Audrey Lawson led the capital campaign for The Ensemble's $4.5 million building renovations that concluded in 1997.

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