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

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 it becoming the nationally-recognized theatre that 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 theatre her life's work.

About the Exhibit


1st Floor MD Anderson Library


October 24, 2014-May 8, 2015