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Parks and Recreation

The Theater Division

The Theater Division of the Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation offers a wide variety of experiences in the theater arts. While our offices are located in the Centennial Arts Activity Center, our reach extends to other locations and parks sites as well, including our own Z.Alexander Looby Theater and the Centennial Black Box Theater.

Exciting Summer Theater and Music Opportunities!

Actors at Rehearsal at Looby Theater

Summer Theater Intensives are back with three brand new offerings

  • June 2-6, "OnStage/BackStage", 9am-4pm, at Looby Theater,$150, ages 9-11 and 12-14
  • June 9-13, "Musical Theater Intensive", 9am-4pm, at CAAC, $150 ages 8-12 and 13-17
  • July 14-19, "Theater Extreme!", 9am-4pm (M-F) & 5pm-9pm (Fri & Sat), at CAAC, $200, ages 11*-18
  • see details here or contact carolyn.german@nashville.gov

Our new "Open Studio" program arrives just in time for those big Seasonal auditions we are setting aside time in the Centennial Black Box Theater for individual performing artists to come use the space for rehearsals and coachings. Details are on our "Open Studio Guidelines". We are offering 30-, 60-, and 90-minutes slots from April 21 - May 14, (Mondays - Thursdays only ), which must be reserved by emailing carolyn.german@nashville.org. As an added Bonus, we are getting some help from organizations like the Nashville Shakespeare Festival who are providing us with some tips for better auditions, and these will be posted in the facility for you to perfect your work!

"All-Ages Summer Chill" series is brand new and looking for talented performers! This cool event will be a fun evening for all, with music and performing arts in our Black Box Theater. Shows will go from 6pm to 10pm every Tuesday July. Let us know if you would like to be on-stage for our Summer Chill series. Performers should be under 21, and need to be able to carry a 45-minute set. Connect with us by emailing carolyn.german@nashville.gov with "Summer Chill submissions" in the subject line.

History Through the Eyes of the Performing Arts

actorsCoordinating with other Parks' Departments, the Theater Division brings history and nature to the stage, allowing a enriched arts experience for all.  Some of our past collaborations have been resulted in projects such as "My Soul As A Witness" (written by Nashville's Thomas Heine, directed by John Holleman) which was performed at Fort Negley, and "Signs of a New Day: The Z.Alexander Looby Story" (written and directed by Carolyn German) performed at the Z. Alexander Looby Theater.   Programs such as these are presented using professional actors, and are appropriate for family audiences.

Special Focus on Youth Programming

Through the year we offer classes in the theater arts, taught by a combination of our own staff members as well as guest instructors.   Our theater classes currently tend to focus on opportunities for ages 6 - 14.  Additionally, our most popular program brings a focus on the Performance aspect of theatre with our Young Performers Program.  This includes our Summer Musical, which is presented as a fully-staged production in June of each year.  More the realm of ages 12 - 18*, the process includes afternoon and weekend rehearsals in May, and full-day rehearsals in early June.  (Particiapants who are ages 8-12 will be considered based on the individual's readiness for this intensive program).

Vocalist Delaney AmatrudoWe also have a strong vocal-performance focus for our young singers.  Our vocalists learn the intricacies of  solo vocal performance, working with both our professional staff and local professional Music Directors. Our inovative "Cabarets at Two Rivers Mansion" series sparked a flurry of interest in vocal performance for young singers in an intimate setting.  We will be continuing the series in our Centennial Black Box Theater the moment the space is ready!  And we also continue our outreach by working with other organizations to bring our performers to a broader public.  Some of our past "outreach" performances have been for "Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival" and "TPAC Education's Arts Appetizer".

Centennial Black Box New Play Reading Series

Now in our second year, the New Play Reading Series continues to encourage new work by provided the theater space for the reading of a new  play or musical.  Each month (except June and December) our partners at the Nashville Dramaturgy Project and the African American Playwrights Exchange coordinate the details to bring audience and creator together.  The series honors the labor-of-love process that is required to get a new piece of theater through the necessary stages, so that it will eventually be ready for a full-scale production.  The New Play Reading Series is currently coordinated by Jaz Dorsey, whose years of experience allow for a selection of material that covers a broad range, from comedy to drama, from mainstream to the avant-guarde.  Playwrights who would like to be considered for the series may do so by sending a preliminary request to the Metro Parks Theater Department at the link below.

Email Carolyn German for more information on these programs.

Theater News