The Alley Theatre is about to get a major makeover that will elevate Houston's resident dramatic company to a new level.

This week officials with the Alley announced a $73 million capital campaign that will fund the renovation, enabling the theater to offer more shows, a greater variety of shows and provide patrons with an enhanced experience (can anyone say larger restrooms?).

Designed in the "brutalist" architecture form epitomized by unadorned poured concrete, the Alley building hasn't undergone a major overhaul since it opened in 1968. The plan calls for a major cleaning of the building's exterior, a new "fly space" that will allow for rapid scenery transformations and several tweaks to the stage set-up.

"This is not just about the building," Alley Artistic Director Gregory Boyd told the Houston Chronicle. "We're excited about the prospect of what will feel like a new facility, bringing it into the 21st century in terms of what we can create on stage, as well as the comfort of the audience. Yet also keeping the 'Alleyness' - the building's iconic architecture and the intimacy between actor and audience that our patrons love. The whole campaign is about the artistic product and the experience it affords to the artists and the audience."

Beyond the major renovations, money raised through the capital campaign will go toward two other initiatives: artistic enhancement and an expansion of the theater's endowment.
The company has so far raised $30 million of the planned total of $74 million, but it must raise another $16 million before it can finalize a timeframe and other details for the project.

Founded in 1947 by Nina Vance, the Alley is one of the oldest resident theater companies in the country. The company operated in two smaller locations, before opening its downtown complex housing the 824-seat Hubbard Stage and the 310-seat Neuhaus Stage.

Click here for more from the Chronicle. And click here for more renderings of the planned renovation.