Houston director launches new theater company focusing on sci-fi and speculative fiction

Andrew Roblyer / Photo by Alan Bryant

Andrew Roblyer, an interdisciplinary, non-binary, queer, and neurodivergent storyteller, has launched The Octarine Accord – a new theater company based in Houston, which will offer its first major production this summer.

The company will focus on presenting works of speculative fiction, a genre that includes fantasy, science fiction, horror, ghost stories, post-apocalyptic tales, and other related narratives.

“I’ve been in and around the Houston theater community for over a decade, and have been looking for ways to augment, not compete with, the incredible work already being done here,” Roblyer said in a statement.

“I fell in love with theater at the same time I was falling in love with science fiction, fantasy, and other forms of speculative fiction. Those kinds of stories get told on stage, but not enough,” they said.

The company’s name “octarine” means the color of magic, a term coined by writer Terry Pratchett in his fantasy novel series Discworld.

The Octarine Accord will produce The Honeycomb Trilogy by Mac Rogers, July 29 – August 13, 2023 at the MATCH. The sci-fi epic in three parts (Advance Man, Blast Radius, and Sovereign) tells the story of an alien invasion of Earth from the perspective of the same living room over the course of 20 years. The cast and creative team currently includes nearly 50 artists. Casting was recently announced on the company’s Facebook page.

Roblyer received a $15,000 grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance to help back the production, and he has set up an independent Kickstarter campaign to raise the project’s remaining budget.

The company also used Kickstarter to successfully fundraise for its inaugural production of Uncle Eb, an alternate-universe sequel to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which debuted last winter.

Roblyer, who founded and ran This Is Water Theatre in Bryan/College Station, Texas from 2013-2018, says they came up with the idea for The Octarine Accord in fall 2021, after rediscovering their love of Dungeons & Dragons during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forming the new company became a way to combine their love of theater and the “nerd-tastic world of speculative fiction and collaborative storytelling,” according to their website.

The company is also founded on the core value of reckless kindness, said Roblyer in a press release.

“Reckless kindness is the willingness to put kindness first, even when the wisdom of our world (or our industry) suggests that we shouldn’t; including kindness to ourselves,” Roblyer said in a statement. “This will affect everything we do: Auditions. Rehearsals. Payment. Marketing.”

The Octarine Accord was formally organized as an LLC in spring 2023. Roblyer says he aims to bring other Houston artists on board as co-operators as the company expands.

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