Lynn Manning

An award-­winning poet, playwright, actor and former World Champion of Blind Judo. He pursued his dream of becoming a freelance artist until he was shot and blinded at age 23. He then turned his creative energies toward literature and, eventually, to playwriting and the theatre arts.  He honed his playwriting skills in Center Theatre Group’s Mentor Playwrights and Blacksmiths workshops (1991-­2001, and The Actors’ Studio Writers/Directors Unit, West (1998-­2004). He  has been a member The Firehouse Theater Company, Actors’ Conservatory Ensemble, and The Wilton Project.  He spent two years with The A.S.K Theatre Project “Playwrights In The Schools” program, and three years as California Arts Council “Artist In Residence” with The Mark Taper Forum’s Other Voices Project. He developed and directed play writing and performance workshops for people with disabilities.  In 1996, Lynn Manning co-­founded Watts Village Theater Company (WVTC) in partnership with its founding Artistic Director, resident Watts actor and community activist, Quentin Drew. Their dream was to establish a permanent professional theatre arts institution in Watts. Their mission was to produce plays of relevance to the underserved community of Watts and South Los Angeles, as well as promote literacy to the youth through theatre arts education.  Lynn is an active member of SAG-­AFTRA, and Actors’ Equity Association. He serves on The SAG-­ AFTRA Performers With Disabilities Committee.

Interview with Lynn

1. How did you get involved in theater? When did you know you wanted to become a playwright?

I came to playwriting and stage acting indirectly.  I was writing poetry and short stories in pursuit of a literary career.  As my poems got published in local literary mags, I began to be invited to read my work for audiences.  Once I learned to manage the stage-fright, I fell in love with the immediate gratification of the audience response to my performances.  I wanted more of that.  I sought out acting workshops and eventually did a lot of scene work and showcases.  Because I was a writer first, it only seemed natural to apply those skills toward the stage.  I wrote my first one act play in 1990. It was titled, Shoot.  That play opened a lot of doors for me, and in production with 2 subsequent one acts I wrote, earned me my first Dramalog Critics' Award for Writing.

2. What kind of theater inspires you?  

Theatre that provokes thought as well as emotion.

3. Who/What has been your biggest inspiration to you as an actor/playwright?

As a playwright, my biggest inspiration has to have been the many contemporary playwrights with whom I shared camaraderie during my 10 years with Center Theatre Group's Mentor Playwrights' Workshop, Blacksmiths and Other Voices. They are far too many to name here, but they are a who's who of contemporary American playwrights.

4. What's your role in Hollywood In the Hood? Why did you want to work on this show?

I'm AD and I'm the writer on this one.  The previous AD had a Meet Me @ Metro production that he wanted to take out to Hollywood and involve small theater companies along the Blue Line/Red Line route.  I wanted to do something different--tell a traditional story that progressed station to station.  When we realized we didn't have the budget to involve Metro, Alex and I thought bringing it to the streets of Watts would be an awesome alternative.

5. In one word, what is the one thing you are most excited about for the show?

Location!  Location!  Location!

6. What can we do to learn more about you?  

Buy my book of plays, Private Battle And Other Plays by Lynn Manning.  Order it from Amazon or through my website,


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Get a copy of Lynn Manning's PRIVATE BATTLE and other plays

Looking for the perfect Holiday Gift? Want to read 3 of Lynn Manning's amazing plays? Buy a copy of PRIVATE BATTLE, AND OTHER PLAYS on If you sign up with Amazon Smile and select Watts Village Theater Company, will donate a percentage of the sale back to us!

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