Dear Catastrophic Patrons,

In 1993 Jason Nodler assembled a bunch of musicians, performers, and other untrained actors to perform his play In the Under Thunderloo at a punk rock club. The play was a cult hit among an energetic crowd of the disaffected youth that made up Houston’s 1990s underground scene. These audiences didn’t have much money and what they could scrape together was spent seeing bands and drinking at bars. They wouldn’t have been caught dead at a play back then and, if they’d found themselves at one by accident, they’d be caught sleeping. Thunderloo woke them up and Infernal Bridegroom Productions (IBP) was born.

Catastrophic co-artistic director Tamarie Cooper made her acting debut in the chorus of that production with a single line: “What happened to us?” The play didn’t provide answers, but the intervening years have. “What happened to us?” Kind of a lot.


Celebrating 30 Years of Avant-Garde Theatre

For 30 years, IBP and Catastrophic have been the reigning champions of local avant-garde theatre, one of its most prolific creators of locally developed new work, and the most financially accessible theatre in Houston. From Waiting for Godot to Small Ball, Speeding Motorcycle to Fucking A, Buried Child to Bluefinger, Catastrophic has produced some of the most memorable productions in recent Houston theatre history: 154 full productions, including 60 world premieres by renowned writers like Pulitzer prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks, Tony Award-winner Lisa D’Amour, Emmy Award nominee Miki Johnson, and Catastrophic core artists like Troy Schulze, Afsaneh Aayani, Candice D’Meza, Nodler and of course Tamarie Cooper, whose series of original summer musicals have become a can’t-miss Houston tradition.

Will you help support the creation of wildly creative, locally developed, new work in Houston?

The People Who Have Made Us Who We Are

We have collaborated with international music stars Daniel Johnston and Black Francis; former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey; and Hollywood and Broadway star Jim Parsons, who appeared in 16 plays with IBP in 3 years. Even Lizzo made a small appearance on our stage.

But it is the ever-evolving ensemble of core artists you’ve come to know and love the best that have made us who we are. They live their dedication by traveling straight to rehearsal from other jobs, arriving home late to study their lines. They give up evenings and weekends; they give up sleep and time with their families. They make these sacrifices and others because they find the work fulfilling, especially when they get to share it with you.

Will you help to support fair wages for local artists?

Bold, Personal Theatre at a Price Everyone Can Afford

Theatre tickets typically cost anywhere from $25-$100 for a single seat, so many Houstonians simply can’t afford to attend the theatre. We don’t think that’s right and we’d venture a guess that you don’t either. Access to the arts is a core value at Catastrophic and, since 2009, our Pay-What-You-Can program has made it affordable for many people to see a play for the first time in their lives. One such audience member recently told us, “I didn’t know this was what a play was. I didn’t know theatre could be like that. It felt like it was about me.” These are the people that we most exist to reach, but making theatre accessible in this way requires subsidy, just as The Houston Shakespeare Festival or The Food Bank do.

Will you help support making theatre affordable for everyone?


Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going, and How We’ll Get There

Together we’ve grown Catastrophic from a small band of “ragamuffin hellcats,” as a writer described our younger selves, into a sturdy, sustainable, cause-based Houston institution. We have drawn national attention from The New York Times to NBA-TV and international attention from The Netherlands to Japan; we have drawn audiences from across the world solely to experience our work, meaningfully contributing to Houston’s reputation as a cultural destination city.

We have accomplished a lot in the last 30 years and we are at work on planning the next 30, identifying the next generation of intrepid theatre artists and building a theatre that will outlive its founders and original ensemble. So how do we get there?

We’ve waited until the end of this letter to mention the most critical ingredient to our success. Guess what? It’s you. A play is not a play until it is performed and, when we are at our best, it is because you make us so. At our best we are like two batteries charging one another. Without you we’re nothing.

On this special anniversary season we ask that you dig a little deeper, paying whatever you can, to support avant-garde theatre in Houston, locally developed new work, fair wages for local artists, making theatre affordable for everyone, and ensuring the future success of this little theatre that could… This little theatre that can and has and will. Because of you.

Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution today. If you have ever been in our audience this is your birthday too. Happy birthday.


Jason Nodler
Founding Artistic Director
      Tamarie Cooper
Producing Artistic Director


Please DONATE to help us continue our mission of producing avant-garde theatre that’s always Pay-What-You-Can!