Tennessee Women’s Theatre presents Voices of Nashville

Actor Keri Pisapia plays a number of characters in Voices of Nashville, playing at the Looby Theatre presented by the Tennessee Women’s Theatre Project. photo: M. Clarke

Actor Keri Pisapia plays a number of characters in Voices of Nashville, playing at the Looby Theatre presented by the Tennessee Women’s Theatre Project.
photo: M. Clarke

Tennessee Women’s Theatre Project continues with its world premiere of a play commissioned by the company, Voices of Nashville, at the Looby Theatre, 2301 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville.

The Tennessee Women’s Theatre 2013-14 season kicks off with Voices of Nashville, by local playwrights Christine Mather and Sara Sharpe. This original documentary theatre piece explores the experience of immigration in our region through the eyes of Nashville’s ‘new Americans.’ The show continues on weekends at Nashville’s Looby Theatre through October 20.

TWTP founder and artistic director, Maryanna Clarke, was inspired to commission the play by the recent dramatic increase in Nashville’s immigrant population.

“I come from the Northeast, and for me the city’s growing cultural diversity is exciting, but not every Nashvillian is comfortable with it,” said Clarke. “We hope the play will help people meet their new neighbors in the non-threatening environment of theatre—to get to know them as human beings, in ways that headlines and immigration rhetoric can’t accomplish.”

Sharpe and Mather interviewed many immigrants of different economic and educational levels, blending their stories into composite characters. Voices of Nashville follows their experiences before and since their arrival here, focusing on the talents, aspirations and the creative and cultural energy that they bring to the community. The ensemble features Nashville stage veterans Keri Pisapia and David Chattam, who between them have appeared in eight TWTP shows, along with Becky Wahlstrom and Colette Divine, both making their company debut. All told, the four actors portray some 30 characters in the course of the show.

From research to outreach to post-performance discussions, the company is working with such organizations as the Nashville International Center for Empowerment, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Conexión Américas, American Center for Outreach and the Coalition for Education about Immigration.

An Artober Nashville event Voices is sponsored by HCA/TriStar Health and funded in part by grants from the Nissan Foundation, Metro Nashville Arts Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission. Following its Looby Theatre run, Voices of Nashville will tour community centers, churches and schools, with performances booked at Casa Azafran on November 9, the Nashville Library Main Branch next January 18 and appearances in Metro Nashville Public Schools under discussion.

Voices of Nashville continues through October through 20. Showtimes for Voices of Nashville include: 7:30 pm on October 11, 12, 18 and 19; 7:30 pm on October 17; and 2:30 pm on October 13 and 20.

Tickets are $15 for adults; $12 for students and seniors (60+). All seats are $10 on Thursday evenings. Group rates: adults $12 each; students and seniors $10 each. Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more, in any combination of ticket categories. For group sales, call 615-681-7220.

For information about Voices of Nashville, call 615-681-7220 or 615-862-8456; or visit www.twtp.org