The Tennessee stage is set for stellar performances. Some unfold under the stars, some happen with high jinks, high kicks, high drama, or noble intentions, all are full-tilt entertaining and enlightening.
In Tennessee's oldest town, Jonesborough, the National Storytelling Festival, now over 35 years old and acclaimed as one of the Top 100 Events in North America, has sparked a renaissance of storytelling across the country. Jonesborough's endorsement of the traditional art form was the inspiration for storytelling organizations, festivals, and educational events all over the world. Nearby in Johnson City, East Tennessee State University offers a Masters of Arts in Storytelling, one of the world's select few graduate programs in storytelling. Master Storyteller Chetter Galloway brings the power of presentation to "Free at Last: Now Let Me Fly!" This one-of-a-kind performance is presented at the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Greeneville for Emancipation Day Celebration Through Storytelling.
Whether it's a romantic comedy or a moving drama, a performance of the Bard at Shakespeare in the Square is guaranteed. A blanket or lawn chair is all you need to view the free under-the-summer-stars performances on Market Square in Knoxville. In the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the story of Jesus Christ in drama and music comes to life in the dramatic Townsend Amphitheatre in the Passion Play in the Smokies.
In Middle Tennessee, the Roxy Regional Theatre, a renovated 1947 movie palace, is home to a live professional theatre company and a gem in the Clarksville cultural scene. Nashville's Great Performances at Vanderbilt offers a diverse, comprehensive season package, from venerable to hilarious, in its selection of performances. The Nashville Shakespeare Festival produces two major events each year: Shakespeare in the Park is an evening of exciting and invigorating theatre under the stars in Centennial Park, and Winter Shakespeare performances play at Bill & Carole Troutt Theater at Belmont University. As a regional flagship theatre, the Tennessee Repertory Theatre creates quality professional theatre in various venues around Music City.
The Jackson Theatre Guild is a non-professional community theatre in West Tennessee. Billed as "ordinary people, extraordinary shows," the guild performs in the West Tennessee Cultural Arts Center. Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, a professional live theatre, produces a diverse repertoire of theatrical work that speaks to the intelligence, the soul, and the imagination of the Memphis community and provides a nurturing artistic home for actors, directors, and designers. TheatreWorks is a Memphis cooperative where six different theatre companies produce plays, with several productions on tap each month.
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