Performing Academy transforms Fire House, opening a new door

Rena Wilson works through vocal exercises withs students at the Performing Academy in Pleasant Hill, Calif., on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2017. The building, a former fire station, was owned for many decades by Diablo Theater Company and before that it was known as Diablo Light Opera. The new owners are proud add this facility to their Lamorinda Theater Academy group. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

East Bay Times | February 5, 2018

Two women business owners are quietly — but not without bold, deliberate moves — cresting the top of the hill as East Bay entrepreneurs and arts leaders.

Opening their third location six years after launching the Lamorinda Theatre Academy in 2009 and gradually rebranding as Performing Academy, co-artistic directors and founders Renee DeWeese and Rena Wilson have taken command of the Fire House on Oak Park Boulevard in Pleasant Hill.

The former Diablo Light Opera Company home no longer resembles the working firehouse it once was: kitchen removed, floors and walls refurbished, barres — yes, ballet barres — and pianos installed, and more, for classes that started in January.

In a way, it’s a homecoming for DeWeese and Wilson, who met in 2006 at the Fire House during an audition for Diablo Theatre Company’s “Peter Pan.” READ MORE