Franklin theater company Studio Tenn announced its new, permanent performance home will be in The Factory at Franklin and named the Turner Theater, formerly Jamison Hall.
Studio Tenn’s 2023 – 24 season begins in October. It will be the first time in the organization’s 14-year history that all of a season’s performances will occur in one location.
“This project has been years in development, halted by the pandemic and revived with guidance and partnership of Holladay Properties and so many other community leaders and Studio Tenn supporters,” said Tony McAlister, chairman of Studio Tenn’s board of directors. “A permanent, purpose-built theater is something we – and Franklin and arts enthusiasts throughout the region – have dreamt about for a long time.
“We are incredibly proud of what we are creating and what it will mean to our community.”
The project is made possible from a surge of support from the Middle Tennessee area, in particular with significant donations from philanthropists Cal Turner and Calvin and Marilyn LeHew. The theater will be named Turner Theater in honor of Mr. Turner, and the theater’s lobby will be named in honor of the LeHews.
The theater will have a prominent box office and aforementioned lobby area, and includes dressing rooms, spacious aisles, gathering areas and a balcony. Turner Theater will seat 329 patrons, with adjustable seating based on the performance or event, and permanent lighting and professional-grade sound and acoustics. It will provide a comfortable, immersive and interactive experience for patrons and performers alike.
The theater will be located in and around the area where the Jamison Theater was previously located in The Factory, abutting both the new Grand Hall and Mojo’s Tacos.
“Culture builds community, which is why we’re investing in a performance space that is worthy of the immense talent that Studio Tenn attracts to Williamson County,” said Allen Arender, Partner & Senior Vice President of Development for Holladay Properties. “Hosting Broadway-level performances and special events throughout the year will bolster The Factory’s reputation as an iconic destination where the arts come to life.”
Funding for the project began with Studio Tenn’s recently launched “Make.Believe.” capital campaign, which seeks to raise $3.5 million for construction on and management of Turner Theater. Additionally, Studio Tenn seeks permanent rehearsal and storage space, and the ability to attract top talent for its productions.
“The support and vision of Mr. Turner and the LeHews as we launched our capital campaign – and as construction began on the theater – is truly meaningful to so many people, and to the health and vitality of our community,” said McAlister.
“We have a clear vision of where we’re going as an arts organization and what we’ll need to get there – and how to provide world-class, inspiring entertainment,” McAlister continued. “Turner Theater is a huge piece of that equation, and we can’t wait to open it to the community later this year.”
Donations to the capital campaign can be made through Studio Tenn’s website.
Studio Tenn’s journey to finding a permanent, purpose-built home has seen the theater company utilize numerous stages throughout Franklin and Middle Tennessee over the last 14 years. As plans for the new theater solidified, the need for both short- and long-term funding became more defined. That’s when the “Make. Believe.” campaign was born.
“Turner Theater represents the efforts of countless people who believe in what we’re doing and who help make it happen,” said McAlister. “It will be the home we’ve always dreamed of, a place where our community will gather and explore the arts together.
“The ‘Make. Believe.’ campaign theme captures the spirit of what we’re doing, of the many people and partners involved, and how the theater experience can be transformative to people of all ages.”