Life, legacy of Rev. Bill Lawson, late wife Audrey Lawson becomes play at Ensemble Theatre

HOUSTON – The love story of Rev. Bill Lawson and his late wife Audrey and their impact on the civil rights movement in Houston is the subject of a new play at the Ensemble Theatre.

The play is called “The Lawsons: A Civil Rights Love Story.” It tells the story of two pillars of the community, who founded Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, and how they fought for equality at a time when it meant putting your life on the line for the greater good of the community. Love letters, hundreds of them, pieced together tell the story of the courtship between Bill and Audrey Lawson and how it brought them to Texas Southern University during the civil rights movement.

“It’s not just a Houston story. It’s a worldwide story. It’s a fight for equality. Its about love transcending all and how spirit and faith can move mountains,” said playwright Melda Beaty.

The Lawson’s passion for education and the desire to make a difference would ultimately lead them to change the landscape of Houston’s Third Ward.

“It gives us a chance to memorialize the amazing work they’ve done for this city,” said Dr. Charisse Barron, a composer.

It was a also a chance to say thank you. Timothy Eric plays the role of Rev. Lawson and attended Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.

“Thank you for your work. thank you for your service. It’s an enormous opportunity through art to give people their flowers while they can still smell them,” Timothy Eric said.

As they researched their roles, the actors who play Bill and Audrey, were fascinated by what they discovered. Audrey, an educator, had a passion for helping young people.

“I want to see so much of Audrey in myself. It means a lot to me to have an example of greatness, " said Lakeisha Randle Koontz, who plays Audrey.

You can catch “The Lawsons: A Civil Rights Love Story” at the Ensemble Theatre through Feb. 27.

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