Theater Works was founded in September of 1986 as a non-profit community theater by a group of theater patrons who believed that the northwest area of suburban Phoenix, AZ, needed and was ready to support, a community theater.
David Wo was the driving force behind the start of Theater Works. He was aided in this endeavor by parents of participants of children’s programs put on by David and other lovers of live theater.
It took less than four months to secure financial backing, lease a facility, and organize a board of directors to oversee various volunteer committees. The first year featured seven Main Stage productions, a high school production and a nine-week children’s workshop saluting the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Kids Alive, was the first flagship outreach program for children between the ages of 6 and 18, was created in 1987, with a variety of learning and performing opportunities. September of the second year saw the introduction of a season of shows especially for children called Wonder Works. In 1990, Theater Works expanded its children’s program by creating a touring program named Wonder Works on Tour.
In September of 1997, at the beginning of the 1997-98 Main Stage season, founder David Wo died. With David’s death theater in the Phoenix Metropolitan area lost a great teacher.
“Don’t ever doubt there are giants in the land. We lost one of them recently. As much as any individual, and more than most, David Wo was theater in this town. He loved the art passionately. He strived to make it available and accessible – not the same thing by a long shot. He worked hard to develop and nurture the next generation of artists.”
FOOTLIGHTS, Kyle Lawson, Arizona Republic
Following David Wo’s death Theater Works went from an organization run primarily by the founder to an institution surviving through the continued efforts of its staff and board.
In February 2007 Theater Works moved to a new permanent venue, Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, a $13 million facility and signed a 20-year facility management agreement with the City of Peoria.
Theater Works new home has a 270-seat state-of-the-art Main Stage theater and an 80-seat Black Box theater, classrooms, set construction and costume shops and dressing rooms.
Today, Theater Works the resident theater company at Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, is entering its 35th season of providing exceptional theater to the West Valley. As a destination, it features more then 200 events a year including: live theater, classical concerts, jazz, popular music, dance, comedy, cultural events, festivals, youth and adult education classes and much more. Theater Works continues to be a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.