TPAC is turning 40 and bringing the party to YOU! TPAC will present a free, virtual 40th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 20, as a thank you for more than four decades of generous community support for its nonprofit mission.
Produced by award-winning director Matt Logan and filmed by MA2LA at TPAC, the celebration is hosted by actress Tamiko Robinson Steele and features performances from Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera and Nashville Repertory Theatre, plus special guest appearances by Tony Award-nominee Susan Egan, actress and recording artist Diana DeGarmo, Spotlight Award-winner Hatty King, and more.
A celebration of TPAC’s 40-year history of serving our community with world-class performing arts and life-changing arts programs, the virtual event will provide a vision of hope for the organization’s future success.
“The role of a performing arts center in its community has changed dramatically over the last 40 years. In that time, TPAC has grown from a touring roadhouse to a cultural catalyst, from a
conventional campus to a leader in arts education for students and teachers across the state,” says Jennifer Turner, TPAC President and CEO. “As we celebrate 40 years of rich arts experiences with our invaluable resident companies and special guests, we also prepare to chart a new course for the years ahead; one guided by renewed commitments to purposeful programming, support for local arts organizations, robust community engagement, expansive arts education opportunities and using the arts’ unique power to bring people together in a more fair and equitable society.”
Led by Martha Ingram, the effort to create TPAC and include a performing arts campus in the design of a new state office building began in 1972 with the formation of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center Advisory Board. The next year, a new TPAC Foundation began lobbying and fundraising to establish TPAC as a home for cultural exchange, a performance venue for world-class artists, and a showcase for local arts organizations.
In September 1980, TPAC’s opening week performances featured Joel Grey with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Flamenco artist Carlos Montoya, Judy Collins, Mel Torme, Hartford Ballet, Atlanta Academy Theatre, The Road Company of Johnson City, the Play Group of Knoxville, Nashville Symphony and Nashville Jazz Machine.
Over 40 years, TPAC has welcomed more than 14 million audience members and served more than 1.8 million children and adults with performances at TPAC, teacher resources, professional development opportunities, classroom residencies and enrichment programs.
“Access to the arts through live performance and learning can have a life-changing effect on people of all ages, and the presence of a vibrant arts and cultural scene is fundamental to a community’s health and vitality. Too often, this critical arts infrastructure is undervalued, but as we have seen over the last year, the arts’ power to connect us, broaden our perspectives and provide hope and comfort is more important than ever,” says Tracy Kane, Chairman of the TPAC Board of Directors. “We are so fortunate to have had TPAC as a cultural anchor for the last 40 years, serving as both a place to come together for enriching arts experiences but also as a launchpad for arts participation across the state. I look forward to TPAC building on its legacy and ensuring students, schools, and communities across Tennessee continue to thrive.”
In addition to presenting its annual HCA Healthcare/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC series and a wide variety of special engagements, TPAC is the proud performance home of three professional resident companies – Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera and Nashville Repertory Theatre – each producing performances of the highest quality for Tennessee audiences. Though they operate independently, these distinguished artistic companies collaborate with TPAC on educational and patron service initiatives.
“Since Nashville Opera’s first performance of ‘Madame Butterfly’ in 1980, TPAC has been the home for over 100 of our operatic productions. The success of our organization could not have happened without a world-class performing arts venue, and thanks to TPAC we have a stage on which to sing bravely,” says John Hoomes, CEO & Artistic Director of Nashville Opera, a resident company since 1981. “Nashville Opera, which is also celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, would not be the company it is today without the support and partnership of Tennessee Performing Arts Center. As we and our audiences find our way through this current challenging time, we take comfort knowing that soon the theaters of TPAC will once again be full, and the stages filled with music, laughter, singing and drama. We are looking forward to that time, and to being back in our home.”
“The performing arts are a vital component of a community’s quality of life, and I cannot imagine what Nashville would be like without TPAC. As one of the original resident companies, we are proud to call TPAC our partner and our home, having produced over 150 plays and musicals on all three of its stages over the last almost 40 years,” says Drew Ogle, Executive Director of Nashville Repertory Theatre, a resident company since 1985. “It would be impossible for Nashville Repertory Theatre to pursue our mission without the support of TPAC’s staff, from the volunteers who greet our patrons at the front door, to the technical staff that run our productions, to the administration who ensure that Nashville-based companies are the heart of the organization. We congratulate everyone at TPAC for 40 wonderful years and look forward to returning to the stage in 2021!”
“For over three decades, TPAC has been an integral part of sharing Nashville Ballet’s performances with Middle Tennesseans,” said Paul Vasterling, Artistic Director for Nashville Ballet, a resident company since 1986. “Celebrating 40 years serves as a reminder that the arts not only have the ability to withstand difficult times, but also to help lift us out of them. As we head into a new year, Nashville Ballet is looking forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with TPAC to find innovative ways to bring the transformative power of the arts to our Nashville community.”
Though the 40th Anniversary Celebration is free to view, TPAC supporters can pre-purchase at-home gourmet dinner and appetizer packages from Juniper Green with proceeds going to TPAC’s Forward! Recovery Fund, created during the extended shutdown to help TPAC recover from this unprecedented period and continue to offer the best performing arts, education and community engagement programs to Middle Tennessee in the years ahead.
TPAC’s 40th Anniversary Celebration is generously supported by Ruby Presenting partner, Delta Dental of Tennessee. Executive Producer partners include Delek Fund for Hope, Dollar General Corporation, Nissan North America and Woodmont Investment Counsel. Ambassador partners include CapRidge Partners and Novatech. It is supported by a media partnership with Nfocus Magazine and Nashville Scene.