Looking ahead regarding the renovated Louis Spilman Auditorium at Waynesboro High School, I would highly recommend that it be named the “Daryl Brooks Performing Arts Center.”

As many people in Waynesboro know, Brooks is a Waynesboro native and Waynesboro High School graduate who has gone on to do amazing things in theater in Chicago. This includes three Chicago African American Arts Alliance Awards for “Black Pearl: The Story of Josephine Baker,” “Men of Soul with a Tribute to Bill Withers,” and “The Curtis Mayfield Story.” And, for these productions he won Best Director and Best Production.

In addition, Brooks has also received three Black Theatre Alliance Awards: Best Director for Josephine Baker, Men of Soul and Memphis. He has been nominated for two Best Director Jeff Awards (similar to Chicago’s Tony Awards) for Men of Soul and Memphis. Two of his shows have been nationally recognized at the National Black Theater Festival 2017 “Men of Soul” and currently “Women of Soul.”

However, Daryl has never forgotten his hometown. He continues to return to Waynesboro to present masters classes to the Waynesboro High School theater department and to put on staged performances. His gentle caring, his outreach, and dedication to others, in particular those of Waynesboro, is very much worthy of recognition.

As someone with many years of extensive experience in local theater and as someone who knows Daryl Brooks personally and has worked on numerous theatrical productions with him, I can’t think of a better person for this honor.

More can be read about Daryl Brooks in Chandra McGuffin’s fine article in the July 11st edition of the News Virginian.

Barbara Spilman Lawson


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