Handbook | Alley Summer Conservatory
Check-in will be from 8:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. daily. We want everyone to arrive safely, so we ask that you not arrive any earlier than 8:45 a.m., when we can guarantee a Conservatory staff member will be present. Please arrive by 9:00 a.m., as important instruction is given at the day’s start. We do not provide after-care, so students must be picked up or self-dismissed every day by 4:30 p.m.
Alley Conservatory will be held at the Alley Theatre at 615 Texas Ave. Students may be dropped off and picked up in Nina Vance Alley, located on Texas Avenue between the theatre building and the Alley Garage. Parking is not allowed in the alleyway. Please refer to the map for details.
For students driving themselves, Theater District Parking is the preferred garage. The entrance to this garage is located off Texas Avenue between Smith and Louisiana streets. Metered street parking is also available. The Alley does not provide student parking.
Due to the strong focus on ensemble, each student has a vital role. Therefore, accumulative absences and tardies can result in your dismissal from Conservatory without a refund. Please check your calendar and notify us in writing of any dates that your child will need to arrive late or leave early. You can send attendance notes to Esme LeJeune Wu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are running late please call or text our camp administrators with the Google Voice number: 530-710-8375
What to Bring
Food: Please bring a healthy lunch and low-sugar snacks. Students will not be dismissed to go offsite for lunch. Unfortunately vending machines, microwaves, and refrigerators are not available.
Drink: Only water will be allowed in Conservatory classrooms. All students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles.
Notebook, folder, pens, and pencils: Students will receive a great deal of information, and will need a place to take notes and keep track of the information given in class.
Phones and devices: To keep our attention in the room, cell phones and other personal electronic devices must remain out of sight and silent. Occasionally, phones may be used to assist with particular assignments on a case-by-case basis. Because students will not always have access to their devices, if you need to reach your child during the day, please call or message the camp administrator.
Alley Theatre is not responsible for lost or damaged items.
Clothing: Students need to be free to express themselves. Dancewear, exercise clothes, pants, and T-shirts are recommended. Students should not wear restrictive clothing, low-cut shirts, skirts, dresses, or anything that inhibits movement.
The Alley can be cold at times, so students are encouraged to bring a sweater or a sweatshirt. Students may keep a backpack or bag within the theatre and may bring a towel to use for floor exercises if they have neck or back issues.
Comfortable, closed-toed shoes: Students will be participating in a variety of active theatre exercises and artistic endeavors. Being able to move around freely and safely is extremely important. Students should wear closed-toed shoes and clothing that is appropriate for movement each day.
Alley Theatre will not be responsible for any lost items of clothing.
Emergencies & Medical Needs
Emergency Forms: The health and safety of students are a priority. Please make sure to fill out your required forms before the first day of Conservatory. Completed forms must be handed to the camp administrator.
Medical or other concerns: It is important for us to be aware of any medical concerns that could hinder a student’s performance such as sports injuries, asthma, or other conditions that might need attention. Alley Conservatory will need a written action plan that details any symptoms and what is to be done in the event of an emergency.
Allergies: It is very important that you inform Alley Conservatory staff of any allergies that may impact your student’s ability to participate in Conservatory.
Illness: Students showing signs of illness, especially fever or flu-like symptoms, should stay at home and will receive an excused absence. Please call or message the camp administrator.
Medication: Unless a student is having an allergic reaction, the Alley Conservatory staff is unable to administer any type of medication. If your student needs medication, they must be able to administer it themselves. Parents can also arrange for someone to come to the theatre to administer medication.
Conservatory Campus Map
Conservatory Phone (Google Voice): 530-710-8375
Esme LeJeune Wu
School Programs Manager
Office Phone: 713-315-5425
Director of Education Programs
Office Phone: 713-315-5442
Marketing & Sales Associate
Office Phone: 713-315-5424
Conservatory Teaching Artists & Staff
Brendan Bourque-Sheil (he/him)
Brendan is a playwright, prose writer, and Literary Associate for The Landing Theatre Company, focused on new play development. His plays have been produced in Houston and Chicago. His stories have appeared on KPFT's So What's Your Story, and the monthly live show Grown-Up Storytime, where he is a regular contributor. In addition to teaching for the Alley these past four years, he teaches Playwriting and Creative Non-fiction at Houston's High School of Performing and Visual Arts.
Ricardo Dávila (they/them)
Ricardo is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts and Yale School of Drama. They played the Series Regular role of “Eladio" opposite Julianna Margulies on AMC's Dietland, and starred in the independent film The Land Of Owls. As a Guest Star, Ricardo has been seen on New Amsterdam (NBC), Alternatino with Arturo Castro (Comedy Central), Chicago P.D. (NBC), and Instinct (CBS). Theatre credits include: For A Brief Moment I Was Something Else (HERE Arts), The Merm (Ensemble Studio Theatre). As a writer, Ricardo was a resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm 2021 Creative Residency. They are represented by Nicolosi & Co and Authentic Talent & Literary Management.
Vincent "Blackbluez" Johnson (he/him)
Blackbluez began his journey as a slam poet in 2007. The art form married two of his favorite things: Acting and writing poetry. He has competed on seven slam teams and has coached other slam poets for two years. His mission is to put the expressive artform of slam into many hearts across the nation. He is thrilled to be teaching Slam Poetry to middle and high schools with the Alley Theatre ECE Department.
Nina Saunders (she/her)
Nina is a Theatre Director, Educator, and Artist Well-being Advocate that is one part sunshine counselor, one part theatre education innovator, and one part collaborative community builder. She is a native Houstonian with a dual degree of MFA Theatre and MA Arts Leadership from the University of Houston. In addition, she is a 500 hour certified trauma-informed yoga instructor who specializes in embodiment work for theatre, and is passionately studying socio-emotional wellness in theatre and theatre education through effective arts leadership and direction. Previously she worked for 15 years as a high school theatre director and 5 years as a professional director, lighting and sound designer with numerous theatrical touring companies. Her goal is to use the art of theatre to compassionately empower, enrich, inspire, and heal through the art of storytelling.
Bret Shuford (he/him)
Broadway credits include Wicked, Cirque Du Soleil’s Paramour, Amazing Grace, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid. Other N.Y. credits include Actors Fund Benefit performances of A Wonderful Life, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, On the Twentieth Century, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Shuford’s credits outside of New York City include the National Tour of Lincoln Center’s South Pacific and Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden in Next to Normal at the Adirondack Theatre Festival. He originated the role of Vernon Castle in Castlewalk, a new musical presented as part of the New York Music Theatre Festival. He has sung with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and the Fort Worth Symphony. Shuford also has been seen on TV and Web series including Law and Order SVU, Alpha House, Submissions Only, and My Dirty Little Secret. His film credits include Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Bedfellows, and Uncle Melvin’s Apartment.
Chaney Tullos (he/him)
Chaney has worked regionally as an actor, director, and stage manager. He has performed with companies including Ford’s Theatre, the American Shakespeare Center, Virginia Stage Company, The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, SITI Company, and the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival. Before moving to Houston, he served as Associate Artistic Director of the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival and was an adjunct faculty member at Tulane University where he taught courses in Acting, Shakespeare, and Stage Management. Additionally, Chaney also served on the faculty of the prestigious New Orleans Center for Creative Arts where he helped students earn spots in the nation’s best acting programs. He holds an MFA in Acting from LSU and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA.
Annie Wild (she/her)
Voice & Speech
Annie holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The Boston Conservatory and has lived and performed in NYC, Los Angeles, Houston, and other parts of Texas. She was most recently seen as “Summer” in Christa McAuliffe’s Eyes Were Blue in The Alley All New Festival. Most recent film work: “Bonnie” in The Dancing Monkey. She voices “Menou” in The Executioner and Her Way of Life and can also be heard as “Belle” in Girls Und Panzer… and in Demon Girl Next Door. Representation: Beaz Talent. A native Houstonian, she has loved working with The Alley as a TA since 2018. When not performing, she loves to cook, play ukulele, and get outdoors whenever she can.
Esme L. Wu (she/her)
Camp Administrator, Playwriting
Esme is a Houston playwright, actress, and educator who received her MA in Playwriting from Royal Holloway, University of London, where she graduated with Distinction in 2012. Her original works include The Visit (Landing Theatre/Houston), Tuning In (White Bear Theatre/London), In the Absence of Grace (MISK Theatre/London, Bierkeller New Writing Platform/Bristol), and Metanoia (MISK Theatre/London), All of This Seems True (workshop reading at Soho Theatre/London), and The Mariner (Cohen New Works Festival at UT Austin). In addition to playwriting and acting, she is one of two playwriting instructors for the Alley Conservatory, and manages in-school programs for the Alley Theatre, which delivers over 800 hours of Arts Education programming in the Greater Houston Area each school year.
Sharon "Rain" Young (she/her)
Rain is a published author, national slam poet/spoken word artist, playwright and actress. She has written several poetry-based commercials for KHOU Channel 11; her most recent one for their “HOPE after HARVEY" Campaign. Her most notable accolade is a Super Bowl commercial that she performed which also earned airtime during the GRAMMY's. This poem won the 2016 Eye on Excellence Award as well as a nomination for the Lone Star State Emmys. Over the last 8 years she has performed in various venues locally and state to state and has held lead roles in various plays. She’s very active in the community as an artist, host and promoter where The Houston Chronicle reviewed her as one of Houston's most talented artist. She currently attends the University of Houston where she's majoring in Mass Communication.