Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium

‚Äč

Photo_Coverage_Honorees_talk_theater_at_First_Night_Symposium_20000101

Nashville theater's past, present and future was the topic of discussion on Monday night, September 13, as seven of the eight 2010 First Night Honorees gathered for the First Night Symposium. Held at Belmont University's Black Box Theatre, the event attracted an audience of about 75 and was moderated by First Night founder/executive producer Jeffrey Ellis.

First Night honoree Barry Scott missed the event to be at rehearsal for an upcoming production he is directing, but the audience heard from Scot Copeland, Paul Gatrell, Kathleen O'Brien, Sean O'Connell, Bob O'Connell, Mac Pirkle and Shannon Wood, who shared memories of their own storied careers in the theater while recalling the people who most influenced them in those careers.

Asked to recall people who had influenced them or had been mentors, both O'Brien and Sean O'Connell talked about Nashville acting coach Ruth Sweet, whose untimely death from cancer cut short her career. Sweet was honored in 1994 with the First Night Lifetime Achievement Award. Bob O'Connell singled out renowned Nashville director Dennis Ewing, whose Actors' Playhouse of Nashville was noted for its edgier fare and contemporary offerings prior to his death.

Gatrell's first foray into Nashville theater came as set designer of the Actors' Playhouse's First Night Award-winning production of Lenny.

O'Brien and Pirkle talked about the role of Martha Ingram in the growth of theater in Nashville. O'Brien, president and CEO of Tennessee Performing Arts Center - which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this season - discussed Ingram's role in the creation of the performing arts center, recounting that "In Nashville, you never send a boy to do a man's job - you send Martha!" O'Brien and Pirkle credited Ingram with convincing city leaders that the creation of TPAC would lead to a richer, more vibrant Music City USA.

After intermission, the discussion became more free-wheeling as audience members quizzed the honorees on a variety of subjects, ranging from increasing audiences to providing more affordable theater space and rehearsal facilities. Wood, who owns Darkhorse Theater, which is one of the few independent theater facilities in Nashville that is both affordable and available to theater companies and producers, called for more space, while Copeland, producing artistic director of Nashville Children's Theatre, says that more storefront performance space would spur further growth in the Nashville theater community.

Photographer Rick Malkin photographed the Symposium, immediately following a photo call with honorees to create their new photographic portraits.

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium
Paul Gatrell

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium
Robert A. O'Connell

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium
A. Sean O'Connell

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium
Shannon Wood

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium
Kathleen O'Brien

 

 

 

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium
Mac Pirkle

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium
Scot Copeland

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium
Jeffrey Ellis

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium
The honorees at the First Night Symposium, moderated by Jeffrey Ellis

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium
Paul Gatrell, Bob O'Connell, Sean O'Connell, Shannon Wood and Jeffrey Ellis

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium

Photo Coverage: Honorees talk theater at First Night Symposium

More Nashville!
Go to the Homepage


Comment & Share


About Author

Subscribe to Author Alerts
Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor oustanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror.


 
🔀NASHVILLE SHOWS
Peter Pan in NashvillePeter Pan
(Runs 11/21 - 1/4)
Annie in NashvilleAnnie
(Runs 1/6 - 1/11)
Flashdance The Musical in NashvilleFlashdance The Musical
(Runs 1/16 - 1/17)
Kinky Boots in NashvilleKinky Boots
(Runs 2/3 - 2/8)
I Love Lucy Live on Stage in NashvilleI Love Lucy Live on Stage
(Runs 2/20 - 2/20)
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in NashvilleJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
(Runs 2/17 - 2/22)

View All | Add Show | Auditions

Message Board

54 Below NEW

BWW BLOGS

Advertisement