The Alley Theatre is sorry, says Managing Director Dean Gladden, for all the awful news.
It's been roughly two weeks since longtime Artistic Director Gregory Boyd abruptly retired, an unexpected development quickly trailed by a chorus of accusations that Boyd groped female actors and maintained a toxic, verbally abusive work environment. Troubling news continued to surface: Theater leaders told Houstonia Boyd limited opportunities for smaller, local theater companies, and then the Houston Chronicle reported Boyd skipped off with a whopping $383,000 negotiated severance package when he retired one year into his five-year contract.
Throughout this saga, The Alley—Houston's largest and most prominent theater company—has remained largely silent, funneling media queries through Pierpont Communications, an outside PR firm. Today's statement, which coincides with opening night for the Alley's first post-Boyd main stage production, breaks Gladden's silence to apologize for a lack of transparency. Things should have been handled differently, he said, and change is on the horizon; corporate consultants have been brought on to shape up the Alley's workplace environment "at all levels."
Here's the full statement:
On behalf of the Alley Theatre, we apologize for recent events and the actions that led to these news stories.
Long-time Alley Artistic Director, Gregory Boyd, had been discussing retirement options with members of the Board of Directors. When the Alley Theatre Board Leadership learned of the depth of staff concerns regarding his behavior, they requested he proceed with his retirement. Part of the negotiated retirement contract included a severance payment and an immediate departure from his post.
We recognize that this lack of transparency has been viewed negatively. We should have handled it differently. We apologize to those impacted, the Alley staff, patrons, donors, press, and to the city of Houston.
Moving the Alley Theatre forward is our primary goal. To that end, Walker Consulting Group has been selected by the Alley. The consultant will provide input to management and the Board-led Work Environment and Governance Committee to assess the workplace and make recommendations for change. Robbin Walker has been in the training and development field for over 30 years and has consulted for Target Stores at their Minneapolis headquarters, facilitated for Theatre Communications Group, and worked with major theatres across the county. Robbin begins meeting with the staff at all levels this Monday, January 29. We look forward to her findings and changes to be implemented.
We vow to move forward in ensuring a healthy work environment and the Alley Theatre will continue to bring quality productions to Houston audiences in a new era.