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Chocolate Bayou Theater Collection

Identifier: 2007-026

The Chocolate Bayou Theater Company Collection consists of 3 boxes of materials dating from 1979-1988. The collection is divided into two series: Administrative Papers and Productions.


  • 1979-1987

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.


2.5 linear feet

Historical Information

The Chocolate Bayou Theater Company’s origins date back to 1973 when Leonard Wagner established a semi-professional community theater in conjunction with Alvin Community College. When the college suspended its theater program, Wagner decided to transform the group into a non-profit professional theater in collaboration with Pat Miller. Their mission was to produce high quality, intimate professional theater while developing playwrights and a company of actors. Together they moved the Chocolate Bayou Theater Company to a new location a few miles north to Houston.

Chocolate Bayou established a reputation mounting new plays and supporting new playwrights through their Preston Jones New Play Symposium. The symposium was named for the playwright Preston Jones who donated his new play to CBTC for their first production. Jones, a close friend of Miller and Wagner, died two weeks before the play was produced.

Financial difficulties forced the company to close in 1987. Chocolate Bayou was enjoying critical and popular success but faced outstanding debts and the economic downturn in Houston. In its final year CBTC produced seven premieres of new plays. Attempts were made to revive CBTC but were unsuccessful. The company mounted more than 100 productions and received two Rockefeller Foundation grants.


Dauphin, Sue. Houston by Stages: A History of Theatre in Houston.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the University of Houston Libraries by Pat Miller and Leonard Wagner in 2007.

Guide to the Chocolate Bayou Theater Collection
Rebecca Russell
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
MD Anderson Library
4333 University Drive
Houston TX 77204-2000 USA