New UHCL Bayou Theater director values audience experience

October 26, 2016 | Kelsie Cleboski

New UHCL Bayou Theater director values audience experience

University of Houston-Clear Lake’s new Bayou Theater Managing Director Alex Malone wants to showcase the power of live performance and create memorable experiences for theater-goers.

“I want the Bayou Theater to be a vibrant and vital component of the Clear Lake community. It can succeed wildly as a hub for artistic endeavors,” he said shortly after beginning his new role at the university in early October.

While audiences have all sorts of entertainment vying for their attention, Malone says live performances offer a connection between audiences and artists that other mediums can’t match.

“A recording is a nice memento of what happened,” he said. “It’s like a postcard of the Alps: It shows the mountains. It shows that they’re pretty, but it doesn’t come close to seeing the Alps in person and their grandeur and their splendor.”

Malone is well-versed in the splendor of performance. He has loved the arts since his school days in west Houston, and he spent two years on the stage as an actor in Chicago after graduating from University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. He also holds a Master of Performance in Musical Theatre from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. After moving behind the scenes as a production assistant, he found a passion for creating meaningful experiences for audiences.

He comes to UHCL with seven years of experience coordinating arts events, including five years as the Pops and Presentations coordinator at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and, most recently, two years as the managing producer of Symphony Pops! at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

With that expertise, Malone plans to expand on the Bayou Theater’s past success, capitalizing on both the 500-seat venue’s size and accessible Houston-area location.

“This is an ideal-sized venue for putting on new performances,” he said. “When you enter the theater, you are in a comfortable environment. The artist should feel safe to experiment and try new things, and the audience should feel confident that they’re going to come and see a quality production. It’s a place they’re going to want to come back.”

Other planned additions include pre- and post-performance social events, a broad variety of artists, facility upgrades and other enhancements to engage and inspire the community.

UHCL Associate Vice President for University Advancement Rhonda Thompson said Malone’s experience and energy will play a key role in shaping the theater’s future.

“Alex is personable, passionate about performing arts and very enthusiastic about the opportunity to transform the Bayou Theater,” she said.

UHCL leadership sees unique experiences in music, art and other types of performance as one of many important services the community-minded university provides. The Bayou Theater was built in 1976 and has been used by both the campus and local community over the years, with an estimated 26,000 visitors annually.

“Our theater has good bones and great acoustics, making it a wonderful venue for arts organizations, school districts, performers and audiences,” said Thompson. “The arts play a crucial role in drawing communities together, and our vision is to create a dynamic, welcoming arts center for everyone.”

The theater, located in the university’s Bayou Building on 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, can be rented in four-hour blocks and offers theater staff to support events, equipment for lighting and sound as well as other amenities. The theater is regularly used to present music concerts, ballet performances, seminars, film screenings and more.

For more information about the Bayou Theater, call 281-283-2065.