Local theatre company trades traditional Shakespeare costumes for flannel shirts and combat boots

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The State Theatre Company presents Shakespeare like you’ve never seen it before. Shakespeare meets 90s grunge rock in the State Theatre Company’s production of “Twelfth Night.” Continue reading

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Why theater is my biggest asset.

Ever since I can remember I have loved being onstage. My parents put me in dance class in kindergarten and ever since I’ve been in at least one performance a year. It never gets old. When I finished that first performance, something inside of me unlocked. Singing, dancing, acting… I had to do it all. I still do.

Theater has always been a huge part of my life. But within the past year or so I’ve started having to shift from constantly updating my acting resume to updating my professional resume.

It has proven to be a lot harder that I was expecting.

While I have ample experience in theater, I am have absolutely have no official experience in my field. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am involved in a lot of organizations and projects in the community so I’m not sitting around doing nothing. However, my professional resume is not something I’d hang on my wall.

On my resume, all those years of theater are summed up in one line that says, “extensive theater experience.” Let me just take a minute if your time and explain what that means.

1. I work really well in team situations. 

Putting on a show is a team effort if I’ve ever seen one. Taking a production from nothing but a cast and a script to a full-blown show is a huge deal. As an actor, I collaborate with so many different people; directors, stage managers, set designers, lighting designers, carpenters, choreographers and more.

These are all diverse people with various skills. I learn from them and work with them and each production I’m involved in, I learn new skills and experience new things. I also learn when to stand back and let the experts handle things.

2. I’m knowledgeable about a wide range of things.  

I can use a power saw. I can turn Styrofoam into just about anything with paint and glue and a knife. I know my way around an electrical outlet. My knowledge of Shakespeare is extensive.

3. I know how to take constructive criticism.

A huge part of acting is learning how to take direction. While I may have one interpretation for my character, not all of my character is my responsibility. The director has a vision and everyone else is supposed to contribute to the vision of the director.

As an actor, I do not decide what I wear or what my character’s home looks like. I learn what I can change and what I cannot change and work from there. The idea is to take my interpretation for the work I am doing and incorporate my director’s input  and make something believable and real and beautiful.

Acting also is learning process sometimes, so when I do something wrong or something isn’t coming across correctly, I have to figure out how to make it all work.

4. I am confident.

This is my biggest aspect as far. Theater has given me the confidence to do all of the things I do in life. Whether it’s journalism, theater, or just meeting new people. I have something that is mine that makes me an interesting, capable person and has taught me many things about myself. It makes me self-aware and confident in my ability and inability to do anything I need to do.

I love theater. It is what makes me, me. It makes me a better person on paper and off. It’s something everyone should try. Life shouldn’t be all about making money and just surviving. Arts help us thrive. I am proud to say that theater helps me thrive.

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Theater in the summer: Part 1

Summer is a time of farmer’s markets, blistering heat, bathing suits and sundresses. Students look forward to the break from school and for long days and warm nights.

This is not the summer of a thespian.

For those of us involved in theater, summer only means one thing: summer stock.

Summer stock theaters are theaters who only operate during the summer months, many of them outdoors.

Here in the tri-cities, there are a few shows to look forward to this summer.

Kingsport Theatre Guild:

High School Musical: On Stage!

How could anyone ever forget that first scene of the first “High School Musical” movie where Gabriella and Troy don’t sing, but their at a ski lodge on winter break and are both pulled on stage to sing a song neither one of them knows? The song is very heavy foreshadowing, but is probably one of the best songs in the whole show.

This show is so fun and is all about defying stereotypes and has an ultimately noble message for this family-friendly show.

After a successful run of “13 the Musical,” the Kingsport Theatre Guild is continuing with a theme catering to teens and young adults. This show is exactly what you think it is, the stage version of possibly one of the most popular Disney Channel original movie franchise. It is every bit as fun as the movie.

Audition information and show dates.



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Kingsport Theatre Guild begins fundraising for new season

The Kingsport Theatre Guild has announced via it’s Facebook page, the beginning of its fundraising campaign for the theater’s 2016-2017 season.

The YouCaring account allows members of the community to donate online instead of sending out letters or coming to donate in-person. This a new method adopted for this season’s fundraising.

“We at KTG believe in promoting growth and education, offering encouragement and hope, building self-esteem and engaging the minds of not only the actors, directors and crew, but also the community in which we are based,” reads the fundraiser’s description.

Housed in a community center in the middle of Kingsport, The Renaissance Center, Kingsport Theatre Guild will be commencing upon its 69th year of  producing plays.

However, the page has 83 shares on social media and only raised $50 so far.

The upcoming season consists of eight Main Stage shows and five of a newly-added feature to the Guild called the KTG: Downtown Series.

The downtown series has been popular since it began last year. The shows only run for one weekend, but are geared toward more mature audiences. However, one could argue that the appeal is the collaboration with the downtown businesses. Instead of using a traditional theater space, the Downtown Series uses business’s spaces.

Downtown spaces used in the past are the Kingsport Higher Education Center and Shabby Allie’s Boutique and Catering at The Vintage Market.

The goal is an ambitious $50,000 but to run a quality theatre, a lot of money is required.

According to the YouCaring.com account, the budget is not only for shows, but for workshops throughout the year and school performances and education add-ons for the shows and the students who come to see the shows.

The shows for the upcoming season have yet to be announced.

Kingsport Theatre Guild Website

Donation Page


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Local Actress raises funds for “Hairspray Live!” audition.


When NBC announced an open call for the lead in their production of “Hairspray Live!” Faith Rader was bombarded by Facebook messages telling her about the audition. The call is open to anyone and is for the lead role of the network’s live broadcast of the musical “Hairspray.”

The auditions are for the lead role, Tracy Turnblad, which Rader has had the opportunity to

faith as tracy

Rader as Tracy at Jonesborough Repertory Theatre. (Photo Credit: Robin Denton)

portray twice onstage, once as the matinee showings and swing at Encore Theatrical and then full-time at Jonesborough Repertory Theatre.

An open call is a particularly big deal because it means that the auditions are open to anyone who gets there early enough.

At first Rader just brushed the idea off. The auditions are in New York City, far from her Greenville home. Not to mention the production she is currently involved in, Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” closes on April 23, the night before she would have to be in New York City for the audition.

On Wednesday, March 30, Rader took a chance and started a GoFundMe account and by Thursday night raised over $800 of her $1,000 goal.

“Let’s live life to the fullest and grab each and every opportunity of advancement on the journey to achieve our dreams.” wrote Rader on her GoFundMe page.

Three weeks later, she has received $1,700 and booked her flights and hotel rooms and even found an understudy for her role in “The Glass Menagerie” for the last weekend.

Previous live musicals produced by NBC include “The Sound of Music,” and “The Wiz! Live.”


To donate: https://www.gofundme.com/lookatmyhair

For more information on the auditions for the NBC production, click here.





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State of Affairs kicks off in downtown Kingsport

The lights of the old marquee are glowing again for the first time in decades. The old building is once again serving the city as a gathering place for artists and their audiences.

State of Affairs is a variety show where local artists come to perform outside under the Marquee of the old theater in downtown Kingsport. The performances are to draw attention to the State Theater Project.

Among the performances were spoken-words poets, local musicians and even a painter.


Westley Harris and Zach Ross (also members of A Great Disaster) were two musicians who had the crowd up on their feet.

The State Theater in Downtown Kingsport opened in 1936 as a movie house and has been through many changes throughout the years. The theater closed down in the summer of 1977.

Today, the building is owned by Urban Synergy, a company that focuses on revitalizing downtown areas.

However, the driving force behind this restoration is a group of three friends from Kingsport: Zach Starnes, Cameron Hite, and Josh Holley.



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(Left to Right) Josh Holley, Cameron Hite, and Zach Starnes thank the audience for coming out to support their project.

The three, recently moved back in from Nashville and Knoxville, have returned to their hometown to revitalize this historic building. They are currently fundraising for the project and hope to have the theater reopened in 2017.

It will be a multi-purpose venue for music, independent films, and a non-profit professional theater company.



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Auditions for The Music Man announced!

Auditions for “The Music Man” at Theatre Bristol are scheduled for March 26, April 2, April 3, and April 4. There will separate audition times for children and adults.

This production will be a bit of a breath of fresh air this season in in the East Tennessee theater scene. Meredith Wilson’s musical, “The Music Man” in set in 1912 and tells the story of a salesman named Harold Hill who travels from town to town. In the show he arrives in River City, Iowa to convince the town to start a boys’ band and buy instruments and uniforms from him.

This Golden Age classic opened on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre in New York in 1957. The next year, it took home 5 Tony awards of its 9 nominations. The awards included, Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Conductor of a Musical, Best Featured Actor and Best Featured Actress.

A movie version of the show premiered in 1962 and then revived on Broadway in 2000.

The show includes easily recognizable songs such as the opening number, “Iowa Stubborn.” This also happens to be the first audition song he ever used.

Another song that everyone will know is “76 Trombones.”


So far in the area a lot of community theaters are directing their seasons toward a more modern era of theater. Many shows this season have been following in the footsteps of some recent Broadway productions such as “13 The Musical,” at the Kingsport Theatre Guild and “Rock of Ages” at the Johnson City Community Theatre.

For the theater-goers eager for a good musical theatre #tbt, this show is a good place to start.

Performance Dates are expected to be in Mid-June.

There are roles available for all ages and is a family-friendly show. Those looking to auditions are not required to prepare a song or monolgue, but prepared pieces are accepted. A movement portion will be included as well.

Links for more information on Theatre Bristol and their auditions: http://theatrebristol.org/audition/

More information on the show:




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