Tennessee Repertory Theatre
Tennessee Rep exists to serve through creating “Ah-ha!” moments that inspire empathy, prod intellectual and emotional engagement, and expand the creative capacity of audience and artists through the dynamic connection unique to live theatre.
To be a strong and vital professional regional theater that is an indispensable part of our community's creative life, widely embraced and deeply valued as an essential source for illuminating artistic experiences and exciting entertainment, and recognized as a model of sustainability that is home for a thriving community of professional artists and whose name is synonymous with excellence in every aspect.
Tennessee Rep's History
Now in its third decade, Tennessee Rep has Nashville’s highly acclaimed director, René D. Copeland serving as its artistic director. Ms. Copeland holds an MFA in Acting and Directing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a BFA from the University of Montevallo. She was co-founder, along with David Alford, of Mockingbird Theatre where she served as associate artistic director for a decade.
Former Artistic Director Mac Pirkle and Martha Ingram founded the company in 1985. Tennessee Rep’s mission was to produce high-quality productions for a broad range of audiences in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Eventually this mission grew to include the development and creation of new works with an emphasis on new musicals. Through Pirkle’s distinguished leadership Tennessee Rep produced 70 shows, a notable regional tour, and a musical revue that subsequently appeared on Broadway.
In 1999, David Grapes became Tennessee Rep’s executive producing director, marking the beginning of a new chapter for the professional company and a return to producing more traditional regional theatre. Grapes saw the need for a second-stage production series in addition to the main stage productions to explore more innovative and challenging work. Tennessee Rep experienced growth and the birth of new education programs.
In 2002 the Tennessee Repertory Theatre and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) agreed to consolidate certain operational functions to achieve efficiencies and synergies for both companies. The goal of the consolidation was to allow Tennessee Rep to become more financially stable and it successfully continued the company for three seasons.
In 2005 Tennessee Rep once again became an independent resident company at TPAC. The 2005/06 season kicked off the next exciting phase for the company, under the leadership of Nashville actor, writer, and director David Alford. Alford attended the Juilliard School for Drama in New York and served the local arts community as the co-founder and artistic director of Nashville’s Mockingbird Theatre. His commitment to excellence and service, with the assistance of Producing Director René D. Copeland, provided Tennessee Rep with the optimum artistic vision, programming, and philosophy needed for increased stability and growth. Tennessee Rep moved the office/shop/rehearsal facilities from the long-time location in warehousing on Chestnut Street to a new location under the same roof with Nashville Public Television. Focusing on presenting the best of regional theatre fare created by outstanding local theatre artists, the company proudly continues to serve the middle Tennessee area by producing live professional theatre with excellence.