Bishop Arts Theatre Center (BATC) is an award-winning, multicultural theatre company with IRS 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status. In 2021, the theatre received Dallas Business Journal inaugural Leaders In Diversity Award, and in 2019, BATC received Theater Communications Group’s prestigious Peter Zeisler Memorial Award for exemplifying pioneering practices in the field and for taking risks for the advancement of the art form. BATC was chartered in September 1993 in Atlanta, Georgia, and founded by Executive Artistic Director, 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 and resources to children and adults from communities facing inequities whether social, economic, and/or educational,
- 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,
- produce special events involving public performances of plays, musicals, dance, and other art forms with various community 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, we 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, we offer a full season of theatre performances, jazz concerts, a lecture series, and year-round arts education programs. Our 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. Performances offer cultural relevance, community outreach, and the sheer ability to deliver fresh theatrical experiences.
BATC’s organizational mission is to cultivate a diverse and vibrant arts community committed to social impact, while creating opportunities for local and emerging artists to develop new, contemporary, and lasting works that celebrate the diversity and resiliency of our community. We offer a full season of digital and in-person theater performances, jazz concerts, a speaker series, and synchronous and asynchronous year-round arts education programs. The theatre is a cultural oasis for the next generation of acclaimed writers, directors, performers, and arts administrators. Each year, we impact over 30,000 people a year via virtual and in-person programs.