Watts Village Theater Company (a.k.a. WVTC, established in 1996)is a multicultural urban company that seeks to inspire its community with an appreciation of all cultures through new works about contemporary social issues.
WVTC was cofounded by Artistic Director Lynn Manning and Quentin Drew, both stakeholders in the Watts community, in 1996.Now in its 15th year, WVTC remains the only independent professional theatre company in Watts, CA.
Watts is a neighborhood in southern Los Angeles, California. It is located within the South Los Angeles region, bordering the cities of Lynwood and South Gate to the east and southeast, respectively, and the unincorporated community of Willowbrook to the south.
Since its founding, WVTC has received numerous awards including the 2010 John Anson Ford Human Relations Award,and the American Theatre Wing's National Theatre Company Grant in 2011.
John Anson Ford was an American journalist, advertising executive and Democratic Party politician. He was a long-serving member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
The American Theatre Wing is a New York City-based organization "dedicated to supporting excellence and education in theatre," according to its mission statement. Originally known as the Stage Women's War Relief during World War I, it later became a part of the World War II Allied Relief Fund under its current name. The ATW created and sponsors the Tony Awards in theatrical arts.
On the cutting edge of cultural depictions of race relations, socio-political tensions and historical adaptations, WVTC is currently focusing on multiple projects that highlight its core mission: To bring powerful stories to the stage in a new and iconoclastic way.
WVTC's main annual event is its summer festival connecting arts with public transportation in partnership with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) titled "Meet Me @Metro"
The idea for Meet Me @the Metro was inspired by interactions with many Watts teenagers who had never traveled outside a ten mile radius of their community. Further exploration revealed that just as youth seldom venture outside of Watts, many Los Angeles residents never venture into it, while tourists from around the world visit the community to witness the Watts Towers, a National Historic Landmark. The company began to wonder why this highly local "fence" between communities exists, and what they could do to address it theatrically. As we have meditated on the issue, we have come to realize that it's a metaphor for the way many people and organizations exist. The project will highlight segregated and secreted communities along station stops within the Los Angeles Metro Rail System’s Red and Blue Lines. Audiences will travel from station to station in a group to experience six original, site-specific performances that take up a variety of sociopolitical, economic, artistic, educational, demographic and environmental movements in Los Angeles today.
The Watts Towers, Towers of Simon Rodia, or Nuestro Pueblo are a collection of 17 interconnected sculptural towers, architectural structures, and individual sculptural features and mosaics within the site of the artist's original residential property in Watts, Los Angeles. The entire site of towers, structures, sculptures, pavement and walls were designed and built solely by Sabato ("Simon") Rodia (1879–1965), an Italian immigrant construction worker and tile mason, over a period of 33 years from 1921 to 1954. The tallest of the towers is 99.5 feet (30.3 m). The work is an example of outsider art and Italian-American naïve art.
Meet Me @Metro II, like last year's inaugural run, is the brainchild of artistic director Guillermo Aviles-Rodriguez. Figuring that the previous show was a bit scattershot, he's added a unifying theme, "traveling circus," for the sequence of short new works by five theater companies and a large experimental jazz collaborative, Killsonic. An assortment of puppeteers and other performers will join in along the three-hour round-trip. Aviles-Rodriguez makes no claim of originality in turning a railway into the spine of a theatrical event, citing New York City's "A Train Plays" and the San Diego Dance Theater's annual "Trolley Dances" as longstanding forerunners. The unique thing about "Meet Me @Metro," he says, is its goal of turning railway ties into ties that bind L.A.'s famously splintered and sequestered geographical communities, if only for the duration of a theatrical trek.