Lamont A. Coleman and Rosemarie Smith-Coleman met each other on the sets of Hollywood, CA as extras. Due to the limited amount of work availiable to actors of color at the time, they decided to produce their own production. They saved the money they had accumulated while working on the sets, and produced their very own play.
Their first production, "Oedipus & The Gospel at Colonus", opened at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ Performing Arts Theater in early 1996. Dispite it's short run, it was a huge success. Due to the overwhelming amount of actors who showed to up to audition, they decided to leave the sets and produce plays as a living."
They began producing plays under the alias of "COLSAC" which was short for, "The Coleman & Smith Artistic Company". They rented production and rehearsal space from Elephant & Lillian Theatres and The Complex Theatres Theatre Row Hollywood, before opening their own non-profit theater location on 6448 Santa Monica Blvd.
In the early years their plays revolved primarily around the situations of African-Americans and included work from many renouned African-American playwrights and poets including, George C. Wolfe, Ntozake Shange and August Wilson, with their son, Daniel Smith-Coleman doing lights and sound of the majority of the productions. As the theater began to grow, they began letting up-and-coming producers and playwrights of all nationalities produce work at COLSAC. The Coleman & Smith Artistic Company Repertory Theater quickly became a multi-cultural education and theatrical arts training institution. Throughout the earlier years, their goals were to train students in the professional arts and give them a legitimate and safe environment to practice their craft and grow professionally. COLSAC soon became dedicated to bringing the community a professional program of stage productions of noted works, new and original pieces written, performed, and directed by their members.
It wasn't long before COLSAC began to educate children and teens alike through the Kids’ Repertory Program and the Teen after School Program. Through the help of donations, these programs provided an outstanding opportunity for young actors and at-risk teens to gain the full theatrical experience (from acting and directing, to becoming lighting and sound technicians). Lamont A. Coleman & Rosemarie Smith-Coleman often gave the credit to God, for their achievements. COLSAC began its own COLSAC Awards Ceremony, which was a gala event held almost every year at many different prestigeous theaters (The Barnsdale, The Ivar Theater and the Celebrity Centre) to give back to the artists they served.
At the COLSAC Awards, later named Flo Awards to honor their board president, they nominated actors and directors just like the Academy Awards and was even hosted by many celebrities. In addition to hosting the Flo Awards, many celebrities were honored, such as Brook Peters, Virginia Capers, Irma P. Hall, Stevie Wonder and Troy Beyer.
List of notable people who attended a COLSAC Production or Award Ceremony. Taraji P. Henson, Troy Beyer, Virginia Capers, Brook Peters, Irma P. Hall, Muhammad Ali, Anthony Anderson, Elise Neal, Richard Gant, Roger E. Mosley, Tony Todd, Reginald VelJohnson, Paula Jai Parker & May May Ali. COLSAC, which has never been funded by the Government or any other organization, maintained its operating costs by ticket sales and donations of its 1,500 members. Because COLSAC was never funded and didn’t have a paid staff, it made a new policy requiring actors to sell ten tickets or volunteer at the theater. Despite being affronted for its mechanism it kept COLSAC’s doors open and alive for over eight years. After discussing it over with its board members, COLSAC removed the policy in late 2005 and turned to other revenue making solutions.
Category: About COLSAC