Theatre Bristol 2020-2021 Season Updates, Postponements, Awards, and Celebrations

Life right now feels like the script of a Theatre Bristol play and not quite like reality. As we’ve reluctantly settled into several weeks of COVID-19 life now, we will never get used to the loss and hardship we experience personally or in compassion for others. We certainly wish it were only a script. As difficult as this time is, we are so proud of our community for the sacrifices made to look out for one another. You get the applause from us this time!

Theatre Bristol had hardly begun to celebrate its 55th year with an amazing season planned, before it was time for our own sacrifice as we have called hold on our shows.
We had worked hard getting ready with director Dotty Havlik and River’s Way to debut “Real Heroes,”–and now the show title seems prophetic, revealing all the real heroes in our midst.

Director Cindi Brooks had just cast and begun rehearsals for “Jack and the Beanstalk” when it was clear we would need to postpone the show and fight microscopic threats rather than giant ones.

“The Sound of Music” auditions were set and ready with director Glenn Patterson, but in weighing safety and so much unknown about when it would be safe to gather, we felt it best to postpone until next year and, in the meantime, remember our favorite things.
We know the changes are disappointing for many, and very hard on our community theatre, but we are taking steps to be ready to open when it is time, and conserving in every way we can financially until then.

UPDATE: As we move into summer, we have now postponed camp, our Youth Service Board production to February, as well as our productions of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” directed by Camille Gray, and “elf The Musical,” directed Kenn Naegele, to 2021. Theatre Bristol announces its new “Keeping Drama On–and Off–Stage” Series. Click to learn more and get involved in our innovative opportunities for theatre – including auditions, performances, fun, and more!

All of our shows are confirmed for 2021 and we will post more information about auditions and performance dates as soon as possible.

We are celebrating, nonetheless, as we have had quite a bit to celebrate!
In February, Theatre Bristol presented the popular musical comedy “She Loves Me” to full houses under directors Steve Baskett and Steve Davis.

In MarchTheatre Bristol’s Real Heroes with River’s Way and Dottie Havlik were featured on the cover of A! Magazine for the Arts and in articles. The Youth Service Board President Luke Gray was the student Spotlight feature in the same March A! Mag issue, and received the King University theatre scholarship to attend there in the fall. Theatre Bristol and Bristol Ballet participated in Arts Advocacy Day, including four Youth Service Board Members who met with their representatives, learned about advocacy, and how vital specialty arts plates are to the arts. WCYB recognized the Youth Service Board in a special two-part 5 Star Student feature that aired on WEMT/FOX and WCYB – Part OnePart Two

In April, Steve Baskett, Theatre Bristol Board Member, was named a 2020 Arts Alliance Mountain Empire Arts Achievement Awardee! Our friend Miles Marek, Executive Director of the Paramount Center for the Arts was awarded as well. Theatre Bristol veteran Abi Bell was recognized in the A! Magazine student Spotlight and, a recent Emory & Henry BFA graduate, was awarded for Academic Excellence in theatre.
In May, Theatre Bristol intern Camille Gray directed Theatre Bristol veteran Jake Price’s adaptation of Julius Caesar in an innovative online production, and both are 2020 Emory & Henry BFA graduates in Theatre.

#GivingTuesday, May 5, provided a chance for donors to come together and give on the same to day to nonprofit organizations. Even though we have very real expenses to run the organization, as a volunteer organization, Theatre Bristol does not qualify for most forms of relief funding. You can still donate and help an important part of our community. As our shelter in place beganCamille Gray and Christina Moody jumped in right away recognizing the lost income the theatre was experiencing and raised more than $1,200! You can still donate here.

Theatre Bristol welcomed these sponsors: Leticia Peltzer ENT & Allergy Consultants and ETSU Cross-Disciplinary Studies, along with all those helping us get through this time, United Company Foundation, Tennessee Arts Commission, Seaman Corporation, Citizens Bank, Stephanie Snelson, DDS, Food City, Party Central, Guthrie Dentistry, Dunham Films, Perma R Products, M&M Bookkeeping and Tax Services, Optimist International, Burwil Construction, Celebrate Rentals, HVAC, Inc., Summit BSR Roofing, Lowes, Blackbird Bakery, Integrated Health Concepts, WCYB News 5, The Loafer, The Bristol Herald Courier, and The Home Depot.

Our graphic designer Haley White designed our new season banner celebrating 55 years which is also displayed on our downtown window. Over the course of the year we are sharing production photos from the last 55 years of productions on Facebook. Enjoy them, and we invite you to tag yourself and reconnect with friends.

In addition to rescheduling shows and all that entails, Theatre Bristol has switched from theatre mask making to medical and general use mask making, and working on Twelfth Night virtually; navigating strategies and applying for financial support; scheduling productions for 2020; and learning all we can about how we can reopen safely when the time comes. Theatre Bristol will be announcing on Facebook (TheatreBristolTN) the availability of masks. Masks are free of charge, with monetary donations ( to the Theatre appreciated. Donations of cotton fabric are also welcome by contacting

If you love your community theatre you can help nonprofits like Theatre Bristol as part of its 55th Anniversary 2020 Virtual Gala. Theatre Bristol has lost a significant amount of income from productions and events that it cannot recoup without community support. We hope you give what you can to help nonprofit organizations meet their obligations, much of which goes to local businesses who depend directly on the business of our arts and nonprofit community and the actors and audiences we draw to our downtown. We hope you make a contribution, of any size, and help us continue. You can “attend” our virtual gala and contribute $55 as a recurring donation, or any amount, in celebration! To donate online visit: or mail a check to 512 State, Bristol, TN 37620. Thank you. 

For upcoming auditions, be sure to like and follow the Theatre Bristol Facebook page in the event of any updates to the schedule. Be sure to see the audition times and details at

The classic To Kill A Mockingbird directed by Camille Gray takes the ARTspace stage weekends September 18-27. Auditions for men, women, and children are August 1, 2, and 3.

The holiday movie favorite elf The Musical directed by Kenn Naegele comes to the Paramount Bristol stage November 13-22, and the ARTspace stage weekends December 4-20. Auditions for men, women, and children for both productions are August 15, 16, 17, and 22.

Follow Theatre Bristol’s website and Facebook page for auditions, tickets, details, possible changes in performance plans, and more for these 2020 shows.

Founded in 1965, Theatre Bristol is the oldest continually running children’s theatre in northeast Tennessee. Its Main Stage season consists of up to six productions. Some of its performances take place in the ARTspace, a multi-purpose, black box theatre which seats up to 120, and other performances are on stage at the Paramount Center for the Arts. Theatre Bristol is volunteer run and we invite you to get involved.

For more information, visit Theatre Bristol’s website or Facebook page, contact Theatre Bristol at 423-212-3625, or email