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Towne Street Theatre is the premiere African-American theatre company in Los Angeles. Originally located in the Downtown Fashion District, our mission is producing and developing original works by that are reflective of the African-American experience. We also produce a “Black Classics” series, a salute to African-American playwrights who have contributed to the American theatre. The Towne Street Theatre continues to be an oasis for creativity and imagination and a theatre that helps to bridge the cultural divide by bringing artists and audiences of all colors together.


Since its inception in 1993, the theatre has featured a diverse selection of intriguing productions from Walking With A Panther, Sheri Bailey’s gritty drama about the stormy reunion of a Black Panther and his family, after a 23-year prison sentence, to Bernardo Solano's "Science & the Primitives," a story of “altered states” in the jungles of South America and "Before 1950," a collection of plays and poetry by African-American women writers, such as Margaret Walker and Alice Childress.


Our 1995-96 season featured the world premieres by African-American Los Angeles based women playwrights, Barbara White Morgan & Sheri Bailey. "The Dance Begins When The Waltz Goes Backwards" opened in October 1995 and returned by popular demand in March, 1996. The story of a white, aging, savvy television writer and his re-encounter with a black intellectual homeless philosopher; this urban comedy was embraced by the public and received critical acclaim.


Season three continued with Sheri Bailey’s generational epic "Summers in Suffolk." Following an African-American family from the 1870’s to the present, it revolved around the “Juneteenth” holiday. Comprised of 19 actors, 5 directors and an accompanying slide show, it was a multi-media history event and was sponsored in part by a grant from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department. Audiences were quite taken with this production and its positive images of African-American history. It received three NAACP theatre nominations.


Our fourth season opened in February 1997 with "Passing," our first commissioned piece. This adaptation of Nella Larsen’s novella was sponsored in part by a grant from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Written by Nancy Cheryll Davis and Sheri Bailey, "Passing" is set against the roaring 1920’s and the Harlem Renaissance. Dealing with the issue of a Black person passing for White, it centers on two beautiful women making explosive choices about race, sexuality, and class.


Overwhelming response extended a six-week run to ten! "Passing" also won Best Actress and Best Costume awards from the NAACP and was nominated for Best Play, Best Playwright, and Best Supporting Actor. The season concluded with a staged reading of "The House of Bernarda Alba" by Federico Lorca, and a holiday show with the Magic Mirror Players, a children’s improv troupe.

The fifth season proved to be another year exciting year in theatre. "Passing" returned in February to sell out audiences, after winning awards from the NAACP and DRAMA LOGUE. The TST conservatory began, with classes in acting, screenwriting, playwriting, classical theatre and more. We took part in the County’s first Arts Open House Day at One Colorado in Pasadena. The first in our Black Classics series began with "Five on The Black Hand Side" by Charlie Russell.


As the 20th century came to a close, "Passing" returned for the third year in a row and a new piece, "Millennium in Black" by Harriet Dickey, premiered. Set in the year 2099, it explored the danger of not knowing your past and how important it is to carry our history into the future. This was also the first year of the TST Musical Theatre Camp for Children, held at St. Brigid Church in South Los Angeles.


In our seventh year, we took part in the NoHo Arts Festival, produced the 2nd year of the TST Musical Theatre Camp for Children, the TST Conservatory, and "Conversations With…", honoring the career of legendary African-American performer Barbara McNair.


Our eighth year began with the production of Joleta by Harriet Dickey, which won the NAACP award for Best Writer and was also nominated for Best Ensemble.


In 2002, our ninth year, we received three ADA Valley Theatre League nominations for "Start of Conversation" by Stan Sellers. Our Black Classic Series production of "The Phonograph" by Loften Mitchell, received NAACP nominations for Best Actress and Best Costumes. The year ended with a sell-out revival of Barbara White Morgan’s "An American Tract." "Once On This Island" was our Kids Camp theater production, performed at St. Brigid Catholic Church.


Our 2003, 10-year anniversary year was a special season of TST favorites and two new programs, TST on the Edge, and the TST Mind Maze – a game show to help students study for the California Achievement Test. "Haints, Conjuremen and Leaving" by David Lindsey, received a Best Actor nomination from the NAACP. "From Broadway To Hollywood And Back" was our 6th year Kids Camp theater production.


In 2004 we presented the long awaited and requested return of "Passing," which scored NAACP nominations for Best Lighting, Choreography and won again for Best Costumes. The first TST Treasures Awards honored the careers of Virginia Capers and Sy Richardson. We were also honored by the League of Allied Arts. New York Stories was our 7th year Kids Camp theater production.


2005 included "Psychology of Chromosome X" by Shontina Vernon, and it received NAACP nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. "Bad Bobbi Bolingo and The Dinosaur Cave," by Tony Robinson, a children’s show, premiered at the Edge of The World Theatre Festival in LA.


In 2006 we focused on expanding our children’s programming with a new screenwriting program entitled Girls Can! and the 8th year of the Kids Camp, with the production of Bubbling Brown Sugar.


2007 was a year of “firsts.” It began with the first 10-Minute Play Festival, and another first, TST in Repertory with "Very Strange Fruit" by Mark V. Jones, and "The Meeting" by Jeff Stetson. For the first time, the Kids Camp production was held at a professional theatre venue – the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center – and the production of "Beauty & The Beast" sold out. We also took part in Suzan Lori Park’s national production of 365 Days – 365 Plays.


2008's dynamic season included the 10-Minute Play Festival 2, the premiere of "Passing SOLO" by Nancy Cheryll Davis - from our Black Classic Series, "Nevis Mountain Dew" by Steve Carter - and the first reading of "Langston & Nicolas," our co-commission with The Robey Theatre Company, written by Bernardo Solano. This amazing year concluded with the Kids Camp 10th year anniversary incredible production of "The Wiz." 


2009 featured a completely revised website, a TST Inaugural Celebration, the TST On Tour Stage Reading Series, 10 Minute Play Festival 3, The Best of TST Kids, sponsors for the "Haiku In My Neighborhood" book signing celebrating photographer Roland Charles, a mid-year fundraiser, "Daddy’s Dyin’ Who’s Got The Will," plus a year-end 1920’s style melodrama fundraiser "Harlem to Havana" – both produced by our TST Advisory Board – and the 2009 Winter Edition of TST Times.


2010’s triumphant lineup included "Cool Negroes”; Spoken Word Nites; TST’s 12th Annual Musical Theatre Camp Intensive for Kids saw its first original production, "Bedtime Broadway Follies"; "PassingSOLO"; Havana Renaissance Daze; 2010 Winter Edition of TST Times and the WORLD PREMIERE of "Langston & Nicolás”, which received 5 NAACP nominations, including Supporting Actor & Actress, and winning Best Costumes.


2011 included the 4th Annual 10 Minute Play Festival, a reading of Felton Perry's play – "The Good Wife," the 13th Annual Musical Theater Camp for Kids production, another original - TST Glee!, along with our first Virtual Tea. "PassingSOLO" was presented both at LACES middle school and a Detroit Breast Cancer fundraiser. Additionally, we partnered with Market America and Company Member Auditions brought in a roster of new talent to the family.


2012‘s 5th Annual 10 Minute Play Festival, jump-started Season 19. Our Staged Reading Series produced "Ashes To Ashes," "The Fountain," "Sister Cities" and "The Johnson Chronicles." For summer, "Sister Cities" became a well-received main stage production. TST partnered in a rewarding mentorship capacity with LA South West College Theatre Department’s Adopt A Theatre. The 14th Annual Musical Theater Camp for Kids  saw our final TST Kids production, and we included some of our adult TST actors in the original “TST Idol”.     A Spring Celebration hosted friends and supporters with BBQ and TST Family fun.


2013 was our 20th Anniversary year! It was full of events throughout. The 6th Annual 10 Minute Play Festival, Readings of plays by members included a re-visit to one of our stellar productions, Joleta by Harriet Dickey. Our first Walk for the Arts took place and Harriet's play Jackleg was our mainstage production in 2013. A beautiful Calendar and 20th anniversary t-shirts helped commemorate this special milestone.

The 3rd decade of programming expanded beyond play production. It was the first season of the Deborah Charles Literary Series, where we performed excerpts from novels by African American authors such as Octavia ButlerKwei QuarterlyDenise NicholsPamela Samuels Young, and Dwanye Alexander Smith.


In 2015, we premiered IN RESPONSE, our company's reaction to the ongoing senseless murders of Black people by law enforcement. The series has become a programming staple as the country continues to be rocked by these occurrences. With 2024 an election year we are in the early planning stages of the next one.

Also in 2015, we were proud to present Sweet Tea by E. Patrick Johnson, before PassingSOLO traveled to the University of Duisburg, Germany, in 2016. It was also published in Solo/Black/Woman, an anthology of one woman shows published by Northwestern University.

In 2017, we shifted our response to the #MeToo Movement with Year of the Woman, and we were given an award by The Los Angeles Inner City Cultural Center for longevity in theater. In 2018, we held our 25th Anniversary Gala and ABC Television Casting began inviting us to participate in their casting workshops.


In 2019, we premiered SUM POETRY, our spoken word program, which became another audience favorite, held comedy nights, a variety show, and a fantastic Christmas play, 'Twas The Flight Before Christmas, by company members Glen Philip and Alisa Murray. Other company works included 1969 by Barbara White Morgan, Conversations 'Bout The Girls by Sonia Jackson, and Half Truths, Full Plate by Dara Fraizer.


Then, just as we were preparing for our 10 Minute Play Festival in 2020, the world stopped. Not to be deterred, we seamlessly shifted to Virtual Programming with the TST Virtual Salon, a repository of short digital plays, retrospectives, and conversations. In 2022, we returned to live programming with External Forces at A Noise Within Theatre.


In 2023, we formed a new partnership with The Ebell of Wilshireheld classes in Hip Hop, Improv, and Writing, including one with Young Storytellers, expanded our membership, and brought back the long awaited 10 Minute Play Festival, which was accompanied by our first ever short film festival.

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