Actor and Watts community activist Quentin Drew and actor/playwright Lynn Manning founded WVTC in 1996 as an outgrowth of Cornerstone Theater Company’s residency in Watts. WVTC’s earliest endeavor was to conduct acting and performance workshops for at-risk youth in Watts’s housing projects, culminating in public talent shows. Since then, WVTC has produced readings and full productions at venues such as the Watts Towers Arts Center. WVTC's 2003 production of Manning's “Private Battle” won a NAACP Theatre Award. “Up From the Downs” (2005), and “Ochre & Onyx” (2009) received critical acclaim for examining cross-cultural relations between Latinos and African-Americans in Watts.
Recognizing its commitment to developing work by emerging LA-based playwrights of color, WVTC began Black Words on White Pages (BWWP) in 2006. A development process involving collaboration between an emerging playwright, director and performers, and culminating in public readings, the series continues twice annually. Through internships and education, WVTC seeks to promote literacy and self-empowerment among Watts’s youth. In 2008, WVTC instituted the Quentin Drew Memorial (QDM) Internship Program, which hires at-risk youth from Watts to assist in the production of WVTC’s shows, receiving training in various aspects of theater production.
In 2009, WVTC hired its new Managing Director, David Mack, and in 2010 created a new position, Producing Director, filled by Theodore Perkins. WVTC recently received the Second District Human Relations Award for nearly 15 years of mounting productions that focus on inter-group conflict and inter-group relations. In May 2010, WVTC launched Meet Me @ Metro (M3). Endorsed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and sponsored by the LA Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the Metro Art Docent Council, M3 featured site-specific theatrical productions along Metro in collaboration with six cutting-edge theatre companies throughout LA and New York.
WVTC Board of Directors:
Lynn Manning (Chairman)
Judith Moreland (Vice Chairman, Secretary)
Leslie Tamaribuchi (Treasurer)
WVTC Advisory Board:
Leo Victor Briones
, Centaur North Strategic Communications
, Youth Opportunity Movement LA
Dolores Apollonia Chavez
, Common Ground
Ricardo Antonio Chavira
, Actor, Desperate Housewives
, Department of Cultural Affairs, LA
, LA Theater Academy, LA City College
Michael John Garcés
, Cornerstone Theater Company
Rosie Lee Hooks
, Watts Towers Arts Center
, PhD, The Christian Food Center
, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
, Center Theatre Group