Erwin Washington

Erwin Washington

Erwin Washington co-founded the Lula Washington Dance Theatre in 1980 with his wife, Lula Washington, and serves as its Executive Director. Under his managerial leadership, the dance company has become one of the leading African-American dance institutions in the West.

Erwin holds an Associate of Arts in Journalism from Los Angeles City College, a Bachelor of Arts in English (Creative Writing) from UCLA, and a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from UCLA. He spent 20 years as a professional journalist at Time Magazine, the Daily News, the L.A. Times, Herald Examiner, Washington Post and other publications, winning a dozen awards for news writing and reporting. While a student at UCLA, Erwin won a Lorraine Hansberry Award in playwriting, a Samuel Goldwyn Award in fiction writing, a Writers Guild Award for comedy writing, two Samuel Goldwyn Awards in dramatic film writing, and co-founded Nommo Players, a student theatre group at the University. He later also co-founded the Los Angeles Black Playwrights.

Several of Erwin’s scripts have been produced on network television, including an episode of the “The White Shadow” that won a Humanitas Prize nomination for its handling of the issue of police shootings in the black community. He has sold stories and/or teleplays for “The Jeffersons,” “Baby, I’m Back,” “Good Times,” and other shows. Several of his plays have been produced, including “Oh Oh Freedom,” “Get Down, Ben Brown, Get Down!” “The Dreamer,” “Sal,” and “Casualties of War.” In 2000, Erwin directed and co-wrote “Cab Calloway’s Legacy of Swing,” which toured to 55 cities featuring Chris Calloway.

Erwin is a graduate of Stanford University’s Executive in Non-Profit Leadership, the Developing Development program of the Executive Service Corps, the Kennedy Center’s Capacity Building Program for Multi-cultural Arts Organizations, the Annenberg Foundation’s Executive Leadership program, and the Arts Leadership Initiative of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Erwin has secured millions of dollars in grants for Lula Washington Dance Theatre, including the $2 million needed to purchase and renovate LWDT’s studio at Crenshaw and Coliseum. He has served on grant panels for the Western States Arts Federation, the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Los Angeles City Cultural Affairs Department, the California Community Foundation and the Los Angeles County Music and Performing Arts Commission. Erwin helped write the first cultural arts master plan for the city of Los Angeles and he worked with the Master Plan Advisory Committee for the City of Inglewood. He is a frequent speaker, panelist and mentor in the arts and served on Mayor’s Task Force For the Arts under LA Mayor James Hahn. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Western Arts Alliance and the Dance Resource Center in Los Angeles.

Image and bio courtesy of The Lula Washington Dance Theatre