A History of Tennessee Shakespeare Company

2006


Sept.    Dan McCleary makes first site visits with Frank Bluestein to start a new, professional Shakespeare company in the Memphis area

Dec.     A proposal is made to the City of Germantown for the creation of a Shakespeare Park with out door amphitheatre in the woodlands east of the horse show location

2007


June:   Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen decide outdoor Shakespeare Park is a great idea but not the right time

July:    Father Gary Sturni of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Germantown sees the above newspaper headline and invites Dan to meet him at the church and to meet parishioner (and founding TSC Board members) Ray Osarogiagbon and Barbara B. Apperson, who invites Dan to use her property, which is adjacent to St. George’s Church, for the first production, which Dan happily accepts

Sept:    Barbara houses Dan and the beginning of the company           

Nov:    Following months of political and legal challenges, Dan is granted variances by Germantown boards and the Mayor and Aldermen to perform the first production on the sites

2008


Jan:     The first invitation to create a “committee” is made to approximately 30 people at Barbara’s home; fundraising this month totals over $170,000

Mar:    By-laws are created, a charter is drafted, the company is registered as a federal not-for-profit, the first Board of Directors is created, and George Walters is named its Board President, Frank Bluestein its Executive Director, and Dan McCleary its Producing Artistic Director

July:    City of Germantown allows TSC to take administrative residence in its vacant, historic train depot in exchange for providing daily visitor tours 5-7 days per week

Sept:    Virginia, John, and Chip Apperson launch TSC’s Barbara B. Apperson Fund in honor of their mother with a mission of bringing Shakespeare to as many children as possible

Oct:     As You Like It is successfully performed as TSC’s first production in an indoor/outdoor experience in St. George’s and Barbara’s Forest of Arden for three weeks for both public and student audiences

            Donna Ladd launches TSC’s first volunteer organization, The Groundlings

2009


Jan:     First of year-long Shakespeare Dinners for over 100 guests at The Grove Grill 

July:    Connie Abston creates TSC’s Dunbar Abston Fund for Sustainable Excellence, the company’s first endowment in honor of Connie’s husband

           Operating budget doubles over previous year

Sept:    Stephanie Shine named Education Director

            First of nine annual Galas produced, most featuring Broadway headliners and earning over $100,000 each season for the Education Program

Dec:     Hon. Sheri Lipman elected TSC’s second Board President; George Walters named President Emeritus

2010


April:   TSC produces city’s first all-female Julius Caesar in Germantown City Hall

June:   Independent Bank becomes a generous Season Sponsor, the first of eight consecutive seasons

Dec:     TSC has played for more than 10,000 patrons

2011


Jan:     TSC partners with IRIS Orchestra to create Themes from a Midsummer Night at GPAC

April:   TSC presents Romeo and Juliet on the rooftop outdoors at Dixon Gallery & Gardens, finishing with an audience promenade to the final fight at the Venus statue in the woods, marking the first of more than ten partner productions with Kevin Sharp and the wonderful staff at the Dixon

May:   TSC enters five-year partnership with Shelby Farms Park to renovate its Wooden O Amphitheatre and perform Macbeth and The Tempest 

June:   Dr. Owen B. Tabor elected TSC’s third Board President

           FedEx becomes a generous sponsor of both the Season and the Education Program, the first of seven consecutives seasons

July:    Operating budget doubles over 2009 season, and year-round staff triples

2012


Jan:     Stephanie Shine launches Romeo and Juliet Project pilot program at Germantown High School

April:   TSC has played for more than 20,000 patrons

June:  With back-to-back outdoor productions of The Tempest (Shelby Farms Park/Shakespeare Walla Walla) and The Glass Menagerie (Dixon), TSC doubles its available seats over the previous season

Sept:    First touring show outside of Tennessee

2013


May:   The National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest announce TSC is one of just 40 theatres in the U.S. to receive a Shakespeare in American Communities grant for The Romeo and Juliet Project, the first of four annual, matching $25,000 awards

June:   City of Germantown, despite popular protests at City Hall, eliminates all funding for TSC’s education programming in the city

Oct:     TSC creates and performs Once More Unto the Breach on stage at GPAC to to raise funds to replace those eliminated by the City for local education programs

2014


Feb:     TSC begins partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance that over the next four years would include Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Showplace Memphis, Henry V, and The Comedy of Errors 

June:   The City of Germantown ends TSC’s lease at the train depot and shutters it for years

            TSC re-locates to a larger office and rehearsal space

            TSC launches Southern Literary Salons featuring, each year to present, Ireland, Mark Twain, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Kate Chopin, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Harper Lee, John Grisham

Oct:     TSC’s economic impact on it community, as calculated by Christian Brothers College’s Business School Dean David Ciscel, is projected to be $3,000,000 since 2008 

2015


May:   TSC produces inaugural Showplace Memphis, staged readings of new musicals sponsored by Broadway’s Theatrical Rights Worldwide featuring: Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical; Midsummer Night, and The Oliver Experiment 

June:   TSC has played for more than 30,000 patrons

            TSC begins working with adjudicated youth at Hope Academy

Aug:    The Romeo and Juliet Project expands into 15 Memphis area high schools for the first time, more than doubling the previous season’s participating schools 

Oct:     TSC commemorates the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s passing with 400: The Shakespeare Feast at the Memphis Hunt & Polo Club, featuring six staged readings of Shakespeare’s plays

2016


July:    Board of Directors expands to 26 members, most in organizational history

Dec:     TSC begins working with adjudicated youth at Jail East

2017


April:   Education Program reaches over 145,000 student interactions since inception

June:   TSC enters into formal, multi-year education partnership with Germantown Municipal School District

            International Paper becomes a generous sponsor of The Romeo and Juliet Project

July:    After four consecutive years of partnering with Shelby County Schools through the Romeo and Juliet Project, TSC is named an Official Partner of SCS

Aug:    TSC begins education partnerships with Company d and the Memphis V.A.

            TSC purchases the former Ballet Memphis facility and property outright for $1,900,000, making Tennessee Shakespeare Company the State’s first and only permanent, year-round home for professional Shakespeare performance, education, and training.

Nov:    TSC produces its 22nd Shakespeare play (plus several titles have been produced multiple times)

 

 Production History

 

Season One:  2008-09

As You Like It at St. George’s Church/Barbara Apperson’s Forest of Arden, Germantown

The Shakespeare Dinners in restaurants throughout Shelby County

Season Two:  2009-10

A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Poplar Pike Playhouse, Germantown

First Annual Gala: A Midsummer Night’s Roiter-Doiter at The Esplanade, Memphis

Julius Caesar (all-female) at City Hall, Germantown

Season Three:  2010-11

Othello at St. George’s Church, Germantown

Themes from a Midsummer Night with IRIS Orchestra at Germantown Performing Arts Center

Second Annual Gala: Love Letters and Love Songs at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn

Romeo and Juliet outside at Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis

Season Four:  2011-12

Macbeth outside on the Wooden O Amphitheatre at Shelby Farms Park, Memphis

Southern Yuletide: A Christmas Memory and The Gift of the Magi in Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis

Third Annual Gala: Put on a Happy Face, an Evening with Charles Strouse at Germantown Performing Arts Center

The Tempest outside on the Wooden O Amphitheatre at Shelby Farms Park, Memphis and at Shakespeare Walla Walla in Washington state

The Glass Menagerie outside at Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis

Season Five:  2012-13

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) at the Poplar Pike Playhouse, Germantown

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis

Fourth Annual Gala: So in Love, An Evening of Song with Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley at Germantown Performing Arts Center

Hamlet at Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis

Season Six:  2013-14

Unto the Breach: The Un-Common Courage of William Shakespeare at Germantown Performing Arts Center

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis

Fifth Annual Gala: The Music of the Night, featuring Howard McGillin at Germantown Performing Arts Center

Romeo and Juliet at Germantown Performing Arts Center

The Taming of the Shrew at Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis

Southern Literary Salon: Of Ireland Born, featuring Bosco Hogan at The Brass Door, Memphis

Season Seven:  2014-15

Southern Literary Salon: Mark Twain at Twilight, featuring Pete Pranica at the Schaeffer home, Germantown

Richard III at Germantown Performing Arts Center

Twelfth Night at Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis

Sixth Annual Gala: I Got Love, featuring Rebecca Luker at Germantown Performing Arts Center

Southern Literary Salon: Kate Chopin, Louisiana Lullaby at RS Antiques & Art, Memphis

Southern Literary Salon: Young William Faulkner, Before the Fury at the Murphys’ home, Germantown

A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the University of Memphis at the U of M

Showplace Memphis, Musical Works in Progress: The Rosemary Clooney Musical and Midsummer Night with Theatrical Rights Worldwide at the University of Memphis

Season Eight:  2015-16

Showplace Memphis, Musical Works in Progress: The Oliver Experiment with Theatrical Rights Worldwide at the University of Memphis

400: The Shakespeare Feast (Coriolanus, Much Ado About Nothing, Love’s Labor’s Lost, The Comedy of Errors, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Richard II) at the Memphis Hunt & Polo Club

Southern Literary Salon: Harper Lee’s Alabama Mystery at the McCarrolls’ home

All’s Well That Ends Well at Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis

Southern Literary Salon: Ernest Hemingway in Key West at the Murphys’ home

Seventh Annual Gala: Find Me in the Songs, featuring Aaron Lazar at Germantown Performing Arts Center

Henry V with the University of Memphis at the U of M

Season Nine:  2016-17

To Kill a Mockingbird at Hutchison School, Memphis

Shakespeare Brunch: The Winter’s Tale at the Memphis Hunt & Polo Club

Much Ado About Nothing at Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis

Southern Literary Salon: Eudora Welty Mississippi Myth at Nancy Copp’s home

Southern Literary Salon: Flannery O’Connor Georgia Gothic at the Murphys’ home

Eighth Annual Gala: Awakening, featuring Sierra Boggess at Germantown Performing Arts Center

Shakespeare Brunch: The Merchant of Venice at the Memphis Hunt & Polo Club

The Comedy of Errors with the University of Memphis at the U of M

Season Ten:  2017-18

Shout-Out Series: Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, and Shake(s), Rattle & Roll in eleven indoor/outdoor locations throughout Shelby County

Shakespeare Brunch: The Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Memphis Hunt & Polo Club

Waiting for Godot at Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis

Southern Literary Salon: John Grisham, Arkansas Rainmaker

The 10th Anniversary Season Gala

 
Plus many Mid-South and Southeastern United States touring productions of:

Romeo and Juliet

Shake(s), Rattle, & Roll

Shakespeare’ Greatest Hits

Lend Me Thy Sword!

The Rebel Shakespeare and His Women

Shakespeare Said It!

Quintessence: Shakespeare in Performance

Julius Caesar

Speak What We Feel: Shakespeare’s Radical Response to a Radical Time