What is the backstory of your business?
Playhouse on the Square is a resident professional theatre company servicing the entire Mid-South. This November, the organization will celebrate 53 years of operation. Between our two main stage venues: Playhouse on the Square and The Circuit Playhouse we offer 15 performances a year. With additional performances in our black box space TheatreWorks at the Square and annual events such as the Original Art Auction and The Great Wine Performances. Throughout the year we serve a broad community representing every age, race, gender, orientation, and socio-economic family. Our mission is to produce a challenging and diverse repertoire of theatrical work that speaks to the intelligence, the soul, and the imagination of the Memphis community. We also take our show “on the road” offering theatre education outreach and touring productions through each calendar year culminating with Summer Youth Theatre Conservatory.
Nestled in the heart of Memphis’ Arts District in the revitalized Historic Overton Square. Playhouse on the Square is a leader in the Memphis Arts community, fostering in a new era of performing arts.
Tell us your role in the business.
As Director of Community Relations, my role is to be the bridge between our theatre and our community businesses and organizations. I call myself the door opener. I find how, what we offer may help you and your business further its goals and mission. Perhaps offering live, local professional theatre to your employees as apart of their benefits package sets you apart in job recruitment? Do you belong to a non-profit organization and you are looking for ways to re-think fundraising? Are you looking for opportunities to support the youth in your community or you want to sponsor an event for your neighborhood school? I’m the guy that can make those things happen!
What are the biggest challenges?
A challenge we face is the idea that “big time” theatre can only be in New York or Chicago. Playhouse on the Square has presented professional level productions for over 50 years. Most of that time has been in Overton Square. Numerous performers and designers, that began their careers in Memphis are now household names performing all over the world. It is true that we are a drive from Germantown. But, when you include all the opportunities Overton Square has to offer from food, shopping, and entertainment with green spaces close by. You can enjoy a whole day without having to catch a plane.
What are the biggest rewards?
After love and water, nothing beats everything art has to offer. It makes you happy. It will make you get out that “good cry.” It can also inspire you to do good things for yourself and your community. We produce shows that do all of those things. In addition to our outstanding productions, Playhouse on the Square also offers over 13 education and outreach programs that touch the lives of over 30,000 children, teens, and adults each year.
How does your business give back to the community?
Our organization partners with over 30 non profit organizations local and nationwide. We are delighted to partner in the groundbreaking work of organizations like The Children’s Advocacy Center and Facing History and Ourselves. Our administrative building offers business space to other local non profit organizations, including Literacy MidSouth and Memphis FilmWorks. An important part of our mission is to never allow finances to be a barrier to offering art to our community. With that in mind, Playhouse on the Square offers ticket subsidies to area schools for theatre performances. We also host Pay What You Can Nights for every main stage production during our season.
Has your business received any recommendations or awards?
Playhouse on the Square has received a multitude of Ostrander Awards, the city’s highest award for theatre, for productions over the years. We have been nationally recognized for continuing to produce theatre during the pandemic and maintaining a full staff without any contract cancellations or furloughs.
How has being a Chamber member helped your business?
Being a member of the Germantown Chamber has allowed as an opportunity to connect with our community and share the good work our organization is doing for the region. The support Janie and her staff give us is beyond what we could expect. We are proud to be apart of this community. We also love the chance to let folk know that driving to Midtown is not that bad!
Is there anything else you would like to add about your business?
Playhouse on the Square will continue to offer the Mid South the best in professional live theatre. Whether in person or on your couch, your seat is saved! We hope to welcome patrons back into our theatre this Summer with the opening of our 53rd season in July! We want all of Germantown to Find Their Place at Playhouse on the Square.