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Tennessee Theatre’s Ghostlight Series

photography, video, web/digital
The ghostlight on stage at the Tennessee Theatre

about

Knoxville's Grand Entertainment Palace

The Historic Tennessee Theatre first opened its doors on Downtown Knoxville’s Gay Street on October 1, 1928. Originally a “movie palace,” today’s Tennessee Theatre has something for everyone: classical music, vintage films, dance, Broadway, and concerts by today’s hottest musicians and yesterday’s favorites. Not only is the theatre a beloved local treasure, it’s designated the Official State Theatre of Tennessee.

Our crew has a heart for our community and the performing arts, leading us to be involved on the theatre’s community engagement committee. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Tennessee Theatre (like all venues) had to close its doors and cancel all upcoming performances. The theatre remaining completely dark was something we just couldn’t accept, so when the team at the Tennessee started considering a virtual concert series, we knew we had to be part of it.

the ghostlight series

We offered our assistance to the Tennessee Theatre in creating a virtual concert series – and the Ghostlight Series was born. This free series (made up of two seasons) featured local, Knoxville-based musicians on the Tennessee stage. Viewers had the chance to make donations, which were split between the artists and venue as a way to generate revenue during a difficult time.

The team at the theatre coordinated with the artists to schedule each set, so everything was ready to go when we came in to shoot. We came in on production days with our equipment and a full (masked-up) crew prepared to capture the musical sets in their entirety, intros and outros featuring Becky Hancock (the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation’s Executive Director), and additional b-roll. Our crew consisted of four camera operators (two stationary, and two moving), a photographer,  a director (closely watching a monitor receiving feeds from every camera), and production assistants.

curtain call

In total, we captured eight concerts, which were streamed live on the Tennessee Theatre’s Facebook page and Vimeo in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021. Thousands of people have since watched the musical sets, while also raising over $10,000 for the theatre and featured musicians. You can watch all the performances here. Check out some photos from the series here.

This series was really all about one thing: community. For us, our partnership with the Tennessee Theatre was a way to give back to such a staple in our community during a difficult time; and through it, we were able to invite the community to the stage in a new way.