Traci Williams; Actress With Outreach Troupe

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Traci L. Williams, 45, an actress and arts educator with Living Stage Theatre Company from 1985 to 1995 and more recently an administrator with the Church of Scientology, died Dec. 14 of cancer at the Washington Home hospice. She lived in the District.

Living Stage was the community outreach branch of Arena Stage and was led by Robert Alexander.

Ms. Williams, whose stage name was Halima, was a performing artist, writer and educator with the company, which performed in schools, jails and the juvenile justice system. It also organized theater workshops for disabled children, troubled teenagers and the incarcerated. In 1994-95, she was co-artistic director.

"When I came here [to Living Stage], my life changed," Ms. Williams told The Washington Post in 1990. "It was like enlisting in a revolutionary work corps or boot camp."

She also performed in two museum theater pieces at the Smithsonian Institution. Four of her plays have been produced professionally.

From 1995 until earlier this year, Ms. Williams worked with the Church of Scientology. She was director for community outreach and education programs in New York, executive director of the church's Harlem foundation, also in New York, and director of quality assurance for the church's counselor training program in Los Angeles.

Ms. Williams was born in Washington, attended the University of Chicago Laboratory School and graduated in 1981 from Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda. She served as a student representative on the Montgomery County Board of Education.

She received her undergraduate degree in theater in 1985 from Oberlin College. She performed with the Karamu House Theatre Company in Cleveland, Staunch Poets and Players in London and Back Alley Theatre in the District and also appeared in TV commercials and corporate films. She studied African drumming and dancing with the Wo'se African Dance Theatre in Guinea, West Africa.

Her marriage to Willie Fink ended in divorce.

Survivors include her father and stepmother, Eddie N. Williams and Jearline F. Williams of Washington; a brother, Edward L. Williams of Baltimore; and a stepbrother, Terrence A. Reddick of Washington.

-- Joe Holley

© 2008 The Washington Post Company