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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Professional Theatres in Residence

The Amish Project, in collaboration with Actors Bridge Ensemble, 2017

The Department of Theatre and Dance is very proud to be the home for three professional companies in residence. These three resident theatre companies - Actors Bridge Ensemble, The Nashville Shakespeare Festival and Verge Theatre - along with the many other professional partnerships listed below, offer a unique professional training ground for student actors, directors and designers. Belmont Theatre & Dance students have the ability to work side by side with exceptional professionals in the entertainment industry.

  • The Actors Bridge Ensemble: Actors Bridge Ensemble was founded in 1995 by Bill Feehely and Vali Forrister. Actors Bridge began in the Belmont Little Theatre in 1995 and in the last 20 years, ABE has trained over 4,000 students in the Meisner Technique and has produced over 80 plays, including 13 World Premieres and 50 Nashville premieres. In 2007, ABE returned to Belmont University to become the theater company in residence at the Troutt Theater Complex. ABE and Belmont produce a collaborative production every year joining Belmont Theatre students with industry professionals to produce unique original theatre. ABE also produces two additional professional productions, the internationally sanctioned Sideshow Fringe Festival, and the internationally acclaimed “Act Like A Grrrl” empowerment program.
  • The Nashville Shakespeare Festival: The mission of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival is to educate and entertain the Mid-South community through professional Shakespearean experiences. The Festival enriches and unifies our community with bold, innovative and relevant productions along with empowering, participatory educational programs, setting the community standard of excellence in educational outreach and performances of Shakespeare’s plays. NSF was founded in 1989 with the first professional production for “Shakespeare in the Park” opening in Centennial park in 1990. During its twenty-seven-year history, the Festival has grown into one of the region’s leading professional theatres. Each summer 10,000 to 15,000 people attend the annual Shakespeare in Park production which is designed to be accessible to people from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Since 1988, over 280,000 Middle Tennesseans have attended, and admission has remained free, with donations welcomed at the Park for any who choose to support the Festival. In 2008, The Nashville Shakespeare Festival established its annual Winter Shakespeare production in residence at Belmont University’s Troutt Theater. The winter production allows The Festival to expand its repertoire to include plays that benefit from a more intimate indoor venue and to provide both public performances and daytime school performances. The first eight winter productions, Hamlet, Richard III, The Tempest, Shakespeare’s Case, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Othello, and Twelfth Night have served over 35,000 students and adults.
  • Verge Theatre: The Verge Theatre Company, formal known as The Five Dollar Recession Theatre Company or FDR, produces stimulating, affordable theater for Nashville, provides opportunities for theater artists to express themselves, especially young women, and bringing small budget, topical, raw, representative, risky, Chicago-style theater to Nashville. Verge Theatre produces one to two productions a year combining professional theatre artists with upcoming local student talent.

The Department of Theatre and Dance has supported and partnered with many of Nashville’s most important theatre and dance companies over the last two years.  These companies include:

Internships are available with any of the above companies.

Hedda Gabler- Spring 2015 (Photos by Rick Malkin)