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Sterling Houston Papers

About This Collection

Sterling Houston was born in San Antonio in 1945. He attended Los Angeles City College before dropping out in 1964 to study acting in New York. In 1968 Houston moved to San Francisco and performed with the rock and roll band, Fleshtones. In 1978 he began working at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco as a stage technician, staff technician, actor and advisor on issues of African-American and gay sensitivity. In 1981, panicked by health issues, Houston returned to San Antonio to join the family real estate business.

After returning to San Antonio, Houston became involved with the local community and professional theater companies as an actor, director and producer. He began writing plays in 1983, and was commissioned by the San Antonio Art Museum in 1985 to create a work about the Harlem Renaissance (A’Lelia).In 1988 he joined Jump Start Performance Company and worked as a performer, writer-in-residence, administrative director, and artistic director for the next 18 years, premiering 30 plays during that time. These works include Relationships: Good and Not So Good, La Frontera, High Yello’ Rose, Isis in Nubia, Santo Negro, On the Pulse of the Morning; Black Lily, White Lily; The Alien Show/Kool Jams ’99, Message Sent, Cameoland, and Miranda Rites. His plays are known for their biting social commentary, burlesque humor, and intensive musical ideas.

Sterling Houston received numerous honors and accolades throughout his theatrical career. In 1997 he received the prestigious Arts and Letters Award from the San Antonio Public Library, and in the same year, the State of Texas Legislature recognized Houston with a citation for his outstanding contributions to the cultural life of the state.

The Sterling Houston Papers primarily document Houston’s involvement in San Antonio theater through scripts, screenplays, programs, and press materials. Also included are correspondence, research materials, project files, photographs, and audiovisual materials. The entire collection, with the exception of audiovisual materials and works created by other persons, has been digitized and is accessible online.

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