Eileen J. Morris is artistic director of The Ensemble Theatre, Houston where she worked closely with its founder, George W. Hawkins since 1982. She oversees every aspect of the theatre’s artistic programming which includes mainstage, tour education, the young performers program and special projects. The Ensemble Theatre is the largest and oldest African American professional theatre company in the Southwest that owns and operates its facility while producing in-house.
She is a director, actress and educator in which her art reflects her ministry. As Artistic Director of The Ensemble Theatre, she has produced over 116 productions which include eight world premieres, over 60 regional premieres and directed over 80 productions throughout her career. The Ensemble Theatre’s production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was recently named one of the Best Productions of 2018 by the Houston Chronicle. Eileen was named the 2017 Broadway World Houston Awards Best Director for Sassy Mamas and received the 2016 Houston Press Theater Award for Best Director of August Wilson’s Fences. Her most recent Ensemble Theatre directing credits include Front Porch Society, Sassy Mamas, Plenty of Time, Detroit ’67, What I Learned in Paris, Women in the Pit, and By the Way Meet Vera Stark to name a few. Under her artistic leadership, The Ensemble Theatre received the 2013 Houston Press Best Season Theater Award and has performed at The Winston Salem- National Black Theatre Festival for the past 10 years.
In Pittsburgh, she directs annually with the New Horizon Theater and has ties that include Pittsburgh Playwright’s Theatre, Kuntu Repertory Theatre, and City Theatre.
In Houston, her directing credits include the 2016 Houston Grand Opera world premiere- What Wings They Were: The Story of Emeline and the 2010 Alley Theatre’s production of I, Barbara Jordan. In 2017 she received the Black Theatre Network’s Larry Leon Hamlin Award, the BCCM Kim Kupp Award, and was recognized as one of Houston’s Top 50 Black Professionals and Entrepreneurs by D-MARS.com. She is a 2016 recipient of the PACE Foundation Community Award, and received the 2016 Houston Community College- Central Campus Unstoppable Leaders Award. Currently, she sits on the board of the Theatre Communications Group, board member, secretary and Cultural Arts Committee Chair of the Midtown Management District and is a board member of the Black Theatre Network. Morris was most recently selected among five female artistic leaders Nationwide to be awarded part of a $1.25 million gift of The Pussycat Foundation and Northern Stage in support of women artistic directors in professional theaters across the United States. The funds will be used to support programs that professionally develop emerging female artist leaders and designers.
A graduate of Northern Illinois University, Eileen holds the distinct privilege of being the ONLY woman in the country to direct eight plays of the August Wilson Ten Play Cycle.