Walter Dallas

From his Obituary on WHYY, May 6, 2020

Walter Dallas, 73, an icon of Black theater and mentor to legion

Walter Dallas, 73, a giant of African American theater and former artistic director of the Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia, died on Sunday, May 3. His husband, Paul Siler, confirmed that Dallas succumbed to pancreatic cancer while in home hospice care in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dallas was known internationally as a theater director and beloved as a teacher who, with his work in the 1980s and 1990s at the Drama Guild and Freedom Theatre, put Philadelphia theater in the national spotlight.

“A common theme I’ve read in the many tributes to Walter, was that he saw something in us that we didn’t see in ourselves,” wrote Philadelphia-based actor Brian A. Wilson in a Facebook tribute.

“To be an artist it is not just about what kind of work you want to make in the theater, but what kind of person you want to be in the world,” wrote Jennifer Childs, a student of Dallas who went on to co-founded the theater company 1812 Productions. “I often say that the world needs more comedy. It also needs more grace, more kindness, more people like Walter Dallas.”

….Over his more than a half-century career he worked with James Baldwin, August Wilson, Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and countless others. His last directorial work, “Autumn,” which premiered in Brooklyn at the Billie Holiday Theater in 2016, won six AUDELCO awards.

NFT Credits

Credit Type Production Season
Director Welcome to Black River 1984-85 Season
Director Spermegga 1999-00 Season