After a six-month search, The Alley Theatre announced Rob Melrose as its next artistic director.
Melrose takes over at Houston's largest theater company following the tumultuous departure of his predecessor, Gregory Boyd. Boyd abruptly retired in January ahead of an explosive Chronicle report in which a dozen current and former Alley employees accused him of creating a "toxic, bullying atmosphere" as well as allegedly groping an actor. Leaders of other local theater companies also accused Boyd of stifling artistic collaboration. And then there was some controversy over his $383,000 severance package, raising questions about the circumstances of Boyd's retirement. Altogether, it was enough for the Alley to issue an apology "for recent events and the actions that led to these news stories."
Melrose, however, looks to what's ahead.
“The Alley has an exceptional history with high artistic standards and an appetite for risk and innovation," Melrose said in a statement. "I am looking forward to pushing that path forward by strengthening and broadening the Resident Company, encouraging artistic collaboration, growing a culture where artists and staff are at ease, and most importantly creating productions and cultivating an audience that are as diverse and vibrant as the city of Houston.”
His resume includes a stint as artistic director and co-founder of Cutting Ball Theater in San Francisco, as well as directing gigs at places like The Public Theater, The Old Globe, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and more. If his directing history is any indication, his tenure could inject more experimental, fresh works into the company's repertoire. "He has fascinatingly eclectic taste with a deep knowledge of the classics as well as a passion for new plays," Alley Director of New Work Liz Frankel said in a statement.
Melrose makes the big move in early 2019 to begin planning 2019–2020 productions; Interim Artistic Director James Black will continue in his role through the current season.