The Bishop Arts Theatre Center (BATC) is home to TeCo Theatrical Productions, Inc., an award-winning, multicultural theatre company with IRS 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status. TeCo was chartered in September 1993 in Atlanta, Georgia and founded by Teresa Coleman Wash. At that time, the theatre was producing dinner theatre performances at the Lakewood Playhouse and partnering with community groups such as Luke’s Place, a neighborhood organization that provided social services for men who were recovering from substance abuse. The specific objectives and purposes of this corporation are to:
- provide cultural and artistic opportunities to individuals who have been marginalized and children who live in at-risk communities,
- use theater as a platform for social change and to raise awareness about issues that are important to our community,
- provide instruction in theatre, acting, dance and other art forms,
- sponsor special events involving public performances of plays, musicals, dances, and other art forms with various community performing art groups in order to broaden the cultural experience to a more diverse group, and
- directly engage and to facilitate others to engage in the promotion of the arts, generally.
In January 2000, TeCo relocated to Dallas and we began producing a full season of theatre performances at the Hall of State in Fair Park. It was there that we originated our annual New Play Competition which has provided nearly $20,000 in cash and prizes to local playwrights. Today the event has expanded to an LGBTQ competition and a one-act festival, Down For #TheCount, that gives a platform to female voices featuring local and national playwrights. In the way that local artists share the stage with headline acts, Down For #TheCount provides local writers with an opportunity to share billing with international, award-winning playwrights.
In 2005, a 10,000 square ft. building located at 215 S. Tyler Street in Dallas, Texas was donated to the organization by one of the longtime patrons who had followed the theatre’s progress from its humble beginnings in Atlanta. Renovations began in December 2006 and, despite a downward spiral economy, were complete in June 2008. Today, TeCo offers a full season of theatre performances, jazz concerts, a lecture series and year-round arts education programs at the Bishop Arts Theatre Center. The newly refurbished home includes a 170 seat proscenium theatre with dressing rooms, executive offices, an art gallery, a learning laboratory and an arts business incubator center. TeCo performances offer cultural relevance, community outreach, and the sheer ability to deliver fresh theatrical experiences.
Doing business as The Bishop Arts Theatre Center, today the organization’s mission is to cultivate a diverse and vibrant arts community while creating opportunities for local and emerging artists through performances and education. The BATC offers a full season of theater performances, jazz concerts, a speaker series, and year-round arts education programs and has touted as being a cultural oasis for the next generation of acclaimed writers, directors, performers, and arts administrators. Each year, the BATC impacts over 20,000 a year within the city of Dallas.