No doubt about it - one of Nashville's greatest treasure's is our brilliant pubic library - especially the stunning Main Library on Church Street, whose architecture resonates with the same classical power that we see in The Parthenon and the Schermerhorn Symphony Hall. For attendees at a recent Nashville conference of The American Societyfor Theatre Research, the library - and the current exhibition reflecting on Nashville's theatre and performing arts history - were on the short list of not to be missed places to visit in downtown Nasvhille.
CURTAIN CALL is a beautifully curated exhibit covering over 100 years of the performing arts in Music City which lines the walls of the Special Collections gallery on the second floor of the Main Library. Curated by Special Collections staff member Beth Odles, the exhibit draws on materials in the library archives - materials which have been donated over the years by Nashvillians whose passions for the performing arts and the city's history are now passed down to us ( and serve as an important example of why it behooves the current generation to see that materials from the history that WE are making today find their way into the archives.)
The CURTAIN CALL exhibition first went up in 2003, but the current version has expanded on that original to include all aspects of entertainment, including music and cinema. In fact, as I learned from Beth, the Main branch of the library sits on the same block that once boasted Nashville's Vendome Theatre.
Materials in the exhibit range from the late 1800s through the 1950s, with a few more recent relics, including a First Night program and a flyer from my own 2003 production GHOSTS OF NASHVILLE. Among these treasures are materials from the Lula C. Naff scrapbooks - Ms. Naff ran the Ryman back in the day, when folks like Katherine Hepburn and Roy Rogers came to town - to sheet music collections from young ladies who studied music back in the 1800s to memorabilia from the founding of The Nashville Children's Theatre in 1935.
CURTAIN CALL will remain up until the end of the year and is something that Nashville's theatre community should not miss - and for those who have never been, an excellent opportunity to check out Special Collections, which includes such wonders as The Civil Rights Room and the Nashville Authors Special Collection.
And while you're down there, pick up the forms which will allow you to add materials from your company or film and theatre projects to the archives.
Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!
The Nashville Dramaturgy Project