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For the 15th consecutive year, the Alley Theatre is providing young playwrights the chance to improve and expand their writing skills with its summer program, Houston Young Playwrights Exchange (HYPE). Six plays by local teens, including Taylor High School junior Camron Alexander, have been selected to undergo development in a professional forum guided by the Alley’s staff, with the program culminating in a two-day public showcase of their work as staged readings.

Alexander will be a junior next year at James E. Taylor High School. He wanted to be a part of HYPE because he felt “it was an amazing opportunity to not only learn and develop my own abilities but also to work with others who can teach me more about the world of theatre and writing on a professional level,” and he hopes his play “demonstrates the importance of what others say and how one person’s actions may have a lasting affect in the lives of those around them.”

His play, titled “In Media Res,” follows a grieving wife following her husband’s death. She carries her husband’s gun around for safety but finds out the hard way that everyone is in much graver danger due to its presence.

One of the Alley Theatre’s Education and Community Engagement Department’s premier programs, HYPE has helped dozens of young playwrights develop their work since the program was started in 1996. The six HYPE participants also have the opportunity to learn from an experienced playwright Alvaro Saar Rios, HYPEplaywright in residence.

A native Houstonian, Rios attended HCC Central Campus and the University of Houston and has worked with various Houston theaters, including the Alley Theatre, Express Children’s Theatre, and The Ensemble Theatre. Rios and his wife, Michelle, are the co-founders of The Royal Mexican Players, a national touring performance troupe.  Rios is the author of various plays, such as The Crazy Mexican Show and One Hot Texican Summer.  His work has been performed in New York City, Milwaukee, Chicago, and all over Texas. Recently, Rios obtained an MFA in Writing for Stage & Screen from Northwestern University where he wrote Moody, a full-length play inspired by the Moody Park Riots.

Friday, August 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, August 13 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the Alley Theatre box office, 615 Texas Ave. or online at www.alleytheatre.org. For more ticket information, visit alleytheatre.org or call 713-220-5700.

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