A New Catalyst for Creativity and Charity

Since being reinvented in 2011, the Franklin Theatre has become one of the most important cultural catalysts and social gathering places in middle Tennessee.  The historic venue reports almost 700 events were hosted last year and it has helped raise more than $1 million for area charities since reopening.

“The Franklin Theater has exceeded every dream we could imagine when we first took on the project to save it,” says Mary Pearce of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County.  “We continue the tradition of movies on Main Street, but the rehabilitation has added a new dimension of entertainment as it becomes better known for the world-class live music, social and charitable events.”

The caliber of talent for live music events surprises many as the 300-seat theater hosts award winning artists as diverse as The Glenn Miller Orchestra and Switchfoot to Smash Mouth and Booker T. Jones.  Sheryl Crow has become a regular (6 concerts with 3 more scheduled for June) and the iconic Art Garfunkel recently chose the venue to re-launch his singing career.  With such a high level of talent the theater boasts a 92.5% average ticket sales rate which means live shows are routinely packed.

Thanks to an investment in technical capabilities and the theater’s aesthetics, a growing number of concerts are also being filmed and recorded for worldwide distribution and national broadcast by artists like John Hiatt, Travis Tritt and David Phelps.  The space was recently used for the prime-time television series “Nashville.”

The Franklin Theatre averages around two events per day and, in addition to live music and movies, is honored to work with schools, students, police and fire departments, senior groups, press conferences, merchant groups, medical societies and major corporations.  “When you want to host a social, educational or corporate event, it’s a very engaging place.  We like to think of it as Franklin’s family room,” says theater director Dan Hays.

Professional theater company Studio Tenn has built a loyal audience in Williamson County and, while it will move to new space in The Factory this year, its growth was fostered by a relationship with the Franklin Theatre with over 50 live performances last year.

In total, more than 65,000 patrons were ticketed for events in 2013 and generated an estimated $3.5 million economic impact.  Almost 12% of patrons were visitors from outside of middle Tennessee, representing growth of 70% in that category over the prior year.

Attendees are the theater’s greatest champions as over 96% say they are “extremely” or “highly likely” to recommend events hosted at Franklin Theatre to others.  In surveys, 95% rate the quality of programming as “above average” or “excellent.”

The theater recently created a new board governance structure and recruited high profile area business and entertainment professionals to shape priorities and oversee new opportunities.  According to new board president Wendell Moore, “The theater has a compelling future and while we continue to seek out sponsors and financial support, it’s on solid financial footing.  We’re exploring new opportunities to expand on the community’s dreams and are proud of its role in reshaping the creative and social landscape of our community.”

Details about upcoming events, arrangements to rent the facilities and how to make a contribution can be found here on the theater’s website or by calling 615-538-2076.