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Houston's Queensbury Theatre Uses Community Needs to Define Art

By Kelly Church

At the Queensbury Theatre, members of the Houston, TX community are invited to view theatrical performances of all kinds. The theatre features both well-known shows and newer works that the community likely has yet to experience. However, artistic director Luke Wrobel said guests can be sure to have a professional theatre experience for all shows.

"Queensbury Theatre presents theatrical productions featuring Houston-based artists as designers, technicians and performers," Wrobel said. "Using both our 250-seat mainstage theatre, and our intimate Black Box, we strive to produce professional-quality musical and non-musical theatre for our community."

Upcoming performances at the Queensbury Theatre include the Year of the Nightingale 200th Anniversary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh, a celebration of the Bahá'i faith. Guests can also purchase tickets for an upcoming preview of Swing, Baby, Swing! Inspired by the Life and Times of Lindy Hoppers. The Lindy Hoppers were a dance group in the 1930s that performed at the Savoy Ballroom.

Wrobel believes that Queensbury Theatre gives the community an opportunity to experience and preserve the arts. His philosophy is that good theatre represents the human experience more immediately and viscerally [than] any other form of art.

"The arts are a reflection of the community whether it be global, national or local," Wrobel said. "All art is a record of human experience in a certain time and place. It gives perpetual life to human experience. That experience may be universal, personal, generic or specific. Art which stands the test of time tends to have all four qualities."

Queensbury Theatre also has an education program that trains students in kindergarten through high school in theatrical arts. Many of these students participate in mainstage performances. Upcoming shows that feature students in the program include Alice In Wonderland performed by kindergarten through third grade students; Seussical featuring fourth and fifth graders; Urinetown with the sixth through eighth graders; Little Women for high school students; and a dance concert for all students.

For Wrobel, the arts are something that incorporates all ages and people of experience levels. In his position, he strives to determine what the arts mean for the Houston community, which he said has grown rapidly over the last couple of years.

"The attempt to define the artistic needs of our community and of Houston as a whole has been the most challenging and the most rewarding aspect of my job as artistic director," Wrobel said. "I've met with people who have spent 50 years in Houston theatre, and with young artists just out of college. I've had so many conversations about art in Houston, and the Houston theatre community. I've learned so much by experiencing such a variety of perspectives."

To learn more about the Queensbury Theatre, purchase tickets or participate in any of its shows or programs, visit queensburytheatre.org.

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