In March 1976, a group of actors and theatre lovers chartered Knoxville Community Theatre as a part of a downtown development program. That initial group would be proud to know that their vision in 1976 is still alive and well and growing in Knoxville.
Knoxville Community Theatre performed in a variety of venues such as the Moses Center, the Bijou, and Market Square for 29 years, offering two or three shows a year along with workshops for adults and children. In 1988, the theatre was renamed Theatre Knoxville. In 2005, Theatre Knoxville found a year-round home at 319 N. Gay Street and added Downtown to its name. Taking a big leap of faith, the board signed a lease and set to work building an amazing company that now produces eight shows every season. Now in our 43rd season, Theatre Knoxville Downtown (TKD) has the honor of being Knoxville’s longest running, all-volunteer theatre.
I landed my first role with TKD in 2009. I didn’t know then how much this theatre would come to mean to me. I found a dedicated group of theatre lovers, actors and directors who work as a team to offer quality theatre to Knoxville. It’s no small job to stage eight shows for a total of 88 performances every season. What is also impressive is that TKD has operated in the black ever since it opened its doors on Gay Street. We’ve steadily moved along in that space growing and expanding our audience. Now we’re ready for our next risk, which is moving into a larger space where we can further expand our base and involve more volunteers and actors. There we can make a bigger cultural and financial impact on Knoxville––the city that has supported us for so many years.
We’ve looked for four years and toured some “different” spaces, but we’ve found what we hope will be our perfect home. 800 S. Central is the new home for TKD that began with One Slight Hitch at the beginning of April. The location is two blocks east of the Bijou where Cumberland Avenue ends. There is plenty of parking on the street which is always free after 6PM and on Sundays. The former church being renovated now will hold 100 patrons and––most importantly to our regular patrons––will have new ADA restrooms which can be accessed during the show as well as during intermission.
If you don’t know Theatre Knoxville, I hope you will join us in our new space. If you’re a regular patron, come celebrate our new home. You can check out the rest of this season at TheartreKnoxville.com. With our long history in Knoxville, we want to share all the talent and awesomeness with everyone in Knoxville. Believe me, 43 seasons just don’t happen. We’re doing something right!
Some upcoming performances are Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth that is May 17 through June 2. TKD’s final show of the season will be 45 Seconds From Broadway by Neil Simon June 28 through July 14.