About The World Stage
The World Stage is an educational and performance art space in Leimert Park Village, the heart of Los Angeles’ African American cultural community. It was founded in 1989 by the late world-renowned master jazz drummer Billy Higgins and by poet and community arts activist Kamau Daáood, in an attempt to fill a cultural void in the L.A. community. Initially formed as a loose collective of artists and arts supporters, The World Stage has grown to assume a pioneering and pivotal role in South L.A.’s music and art landscape.
The Stage’s mission is to secure, preserve and advance the position of African American music, literature and works in the oral tradition to a local, national and international audience. With a capacity of 100, The World Stage programs affordable weekly workshops in music and literary arts, and ticketed performances from a range of renowned artists.
Through its weekly workshops, The World Stage provides the community with quality arts education and links youth with elders in the African American cultural tradition. Workshops are generally offered to the public for $5 but no one is turned away for lack of funds. Offerings include Monday’s Drum Workshop for children of all ages, Tuesday’s Jazz Vocal Workshop and Jazz Vocal Jam, Wednesday’s Anansi Writer’s Workshop, Thursday’s Women’s African Drum Circle and Jazz Jam Session, Saturday’s Jazz Workshop, and Sunday’s Woodwind Workshop, Roots First Global History of Rhythm Class, and Sisters of Jazz Jam Session.
Performances at The World Stage generally occur on Friday and Saturday evenings. Please view our calendar for upcoming events.
The World Stage fosters exchange and interaction between artists of all ages and levels, and provides a place for self-discovery, experimentation and critical feedback in a nourishing environment. The fruits of this fertile mixture are the many notable alumni who have honed their creative skills through training and exposure at The World Stage. Some of these artists include musical groups B Sharp Jazz Quartet, Young World Stage All-Stars and Black Note; bestselling authors Michael Datcher and Jenoyne Adams; Pulitzer Prize nominee Ruth Forman; vocalist Dwight Trible; Sundance Film Fellow Nyesha Khalfani; author, poet, publisher and radio personality Peter J. Harris and many others. The World Stage also exposes the community to arts through regular jazz performances, poetry readings, and events such as the Kwanzaa Music Festival and an annual concert featuring nationally acclaimed artists.
The World Stage FamilyBilly Higgins, Co-Founder
"My mother played drums, but how I really heard the drums was in this place called South Park on 51st and Avalon, on the Eastside in Los Angeles. And I seen this band, there was a band playing, and it just totally took me over... People used to ask me, they said 'little boy, what do you want to be?,' I said 'I want to play the drums,' you know, but naw, they said 'but no, what do you really want to be?' I said 'I wanna play the drums!'"
“I am a devout artist, a poet. I have honed my skills in small community arts venues. I have witnessed the power of the arts as a vehicle for self-discovery, revelation, inspiration and healing. Words, sounds, shapes, colors and movement used to build bridges of understanding between human hearts. Art is a higher language beyond our native tongues. It is the light that cuts through dogma and spiritualizes our moments and grounds us in the sacredness of time.”
"These are the three things that shaped me: One, treat everyone with the utmost respect, no matter what their station in life. People will support you. Two, give freely of yourself, your time and energy, without expecting anything in return. Blessings will show up in ways you never dreamed of. Three, do what you can where you are to bring people together, create a better understanding about each other and make the world a better place."