Tina Knowles-Lawson and Richard Lawson, who, for decades, have mentored and empowered young people through their individual programs, Tina’s Angels and Richard’s Warriors, have opened the doors on a new Los Angeles theatre complex to help foster artistic creation, self-expression, and innovation through theatre.
Knowles-Lawson, whose daughters Beyoncé and Solange Knowles push boundaries with their own artistry, created the WACO (W)here (A)rt (C)an (O)ccur Theater Center, to provide “a place where we can celebrate an individual’s artistic creation and self-expression through theatre, reflecting fine art, innovation, craftsmanship and inspire imagination.”
The WACO Theater Center opened November 3 with a three-day celebration that honored playwright Richard Wesley and black theatre pioneer Woodie King, Jr. with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The center includes an 85-seat black box theatre.
Also on hand were Glynn Turnman, Nicole Ari Parker, Bill Bellamy, Nija Okoro, and Vanessa Williams, who led a staged reading of Wesley’s play The Talented Tenth.
Both Knowles-Lawson and Lawson will continue their respective mentor programs as part of WACO's programming. The center will also serve as home to the Richard Lawson Studio, offering master classes, scene study, sketch, improvisation, and stand-up classes. WACO will also operate a mobile theatre unit, which will take theatre, music, and visual arts to communities around the greater Los Angeles Area.