Lynn Manning is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Watts Village Theater Company. He is also an award-winning poet, playwright, actor, and former World Champion of Blind Judo. He accomplished all of this after being shot and blinded by a stranger in a bar in Hollywood, at age 23. Originally an aspiring visual artist, Lynn turned his creative energies toward the literary arts. He now paints with words. He accomplished all of this after being shot and blinded at age 23.
Lynn has written several critically recognized plays and is the recipient of two Dramalogue Critic Awards for writing. Center Theatre Group’s 2001 production of Lynn’s solo masterwork, WEIGHTS, garnered three NAACP Theater awards, including Best Actor for Lynn. Lynn has since performed WEIGHTS in national and international venues large and small—from Croatia to Toronto, from London to Off-Broadway, and from Oslo to The Adelaide Fringe. Lynn received a ‘Fringe Review ‘Teapot Award’ for excellence in theatre for his WEIGHTS run at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A live performance audio CD, WEIGHTS (one blind man’s journey), was released by Bridge Multimedia in 2005.
In 1996, Lynn co-founded Watts Village Theater Company in partnership with the late actor and community activist, Quentin Drew. The company develops and produces new plays of relevance to the underserved Afro-Latino communities of Watts and South Los Angeles. For 15 years Lynn was also President of The Firehouse Theater Company, dedicated to the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of the theatre arts.
Lynn’s poetry and plays have been featured in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies—most recently, 24 GUN CONTROL PLAYS, VOICES FROM LEIMERT PARK; and BEYOND VICTIMS AND VILLAINS (CONTEMPORARY PLAYS BY DISABLED PLAYWRIGHTS). A collection of Lynn’s plays, PRIVATE BATTLE (And Other Plays) is soon to be released by No Passport Theatre Press.
In addition to his writing and acting careers, Lynn sometimes serves as a consultant and technical advisor on Hollywood productions. Most recently, consultant to Gillian Alexy for TV’s ROYAL PAINS; consultant to Alison Pill for the stage play, WAIT UNTIL DARK; Technical Advisor to the Steven Bochco police episodic, BLIND JUSTICE; advisor to Rutgar Hauer in, BLIND FURY; and consultant to the Warner Brothers animated feature, QUEST FOR CAMELOT.