Tennessee Repertory Theatre Changes Name to Nashville Repertory Theatre

by Jacob Coakley

Tennessee Rep celebrates its 30th Anniversary by changing its name to Nashville Repertory Theatre, to better showcase its dedication and involvement in the Nashville theatre ecology.Tennessee Repertory Theatre will start its 30th anniversary season with a name change. The theatre will now be known as Nashville Repertory Theatre. The name change is meant to celebrate “the theatre’s deep commitment to working with local, professional, actors, artisans, and artists as well as its commitment to fostering the city’s theatre ecology.”

Tennessee Repertory Theatre Announces Name Change: Professional Theatre Will Be Known as Nashville Repertory Theatre

 Nashville, TN--The Board of Trustees of Tennessee Repertory Theatre has announced its decision to change the name of the thirty-year-old theatre to Nashville Repertory Theatre, commencing with the 2014-15 season, which is also the professional theatre’s 30th anniversary.

In the spring of 2014, the Board unanimously approved the strategic plan to move forward as Nashville Rep. The name change celebrates the theatre’s deep commitment to working with local, professional, actors, artisans, and artists as well as its commitment to fostering the city’s theatre ecology.

 The name change to Nashville Repertory Theatre was announced publicly at an event on September 17 honoring the company’s 30th anniversary. The event was held at Emma Bistro Café in Nashville and featured the following speakers: Vicki Horne (President, Board of Directors, Nashville Repertory Theatre), René D. Copeland (Producing Artistic Director, Nashville Repertory Theatre), Martha Ingram (Co-founder, Nashville Repertory Theatre), Paula Roberts (President, Board of Directors, Metro Nashville Arts Commission), and Megan Barry (City Council Member At Large, Nashville).

Copeland said, “There's nothing like turning thirty to make you step back and do a little taking stock of yourself--who you are, what you've managed to do so far, what you aspire to. So as we were looking ahead to this time, we found ourselves digging deep into who we really are and how we want to communicate that. We have a thirty year history of which we are very proud. Tennessee Rep has from its inception been committed to serving this community through making great professional theatre. We certainly aspire to continue to be worthy of that heritage and we intend to honor the dedication of those who went before us by making sure we have a great future. And in thinking forward to our future we came to this strong conviction that the time had come for us to focus clearly and strongly on communicating who we are, locally, regionally and nationally.”

She continued, “We are, and have always been a company dedicated to serving Nashville through providing terrific theatre. We love that we are a part of a cultural life for Nashvillians who have a plethora of cultural and entertainment options. Since 1985, making sure that everyone who comes to see one of our shows has a stimulating, inspiring, entertaining experience in the theatre has been and will always be our first priority. But besides serving Nashville audiences, we have evolved to become a company of Nashville theatre artists and we have come to embrace the idea that it’s part of our job to help drive Nashville’s ‘theatre engine.’ We strive to be an inspiration and a resource and embrace a leadership role in Nashville’s theatre ecology. We even state explicitly in our strategic plan that we exist not only to provide great theatre to this city, but also to provide a home that enables professional theatre artists to live here. We're Nashvillians. And we thrive on the idea that we are in service to this town.”

Barry read a letter written by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean that commemorated the occasion. Dean said, “Congratulations as well on embracing your true identity as Nashville’s own regional, professional theatre by becoming Nashville Repertory Theatre. This evolution of your name celebrates your rich history along with your commitment to local professional actors, artists, and artisans. I am exceedingly proud to have a professional theatre serving our citizens by offering quality theatre on par with any other city in this country, all created and produced right here.”

Since 1985, Nashville Repertory Theatre has been a critically acclaimed regional theatre, creating the highest quality professional productions and by serving as a prime cultural, educational, and economic resource within the Nashville and Middle Tennessee communities. Nashville Rep produces work that is designed, built, and rehearsed in Nashville by highly skilled actors, designers, directors, and technicians. A non-profit organization, Nashville Rep is committed to consistently delivering thought-provoking theatre each year while creating “Ah-ha!” moments that inspire empathy, prod intellectual and emotional engagement, and expand the creative capacity of audience and artists though the dynamic connection unique to live theatre. For more information on Nashville Repertory Theatre, please visit www.nashvillerep.org.