During the celebration of its 10th anniversary season, Studio Tenn has announced Kay and Rod Heller as honorary chairs of its One Night Only annual fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 18.
This year’s event, titled “An Evening with Friends,” will feature engaging performances, dinner and drinks as guests celebrate the 2019-2020 season and learn more about Studio Tenn’s partnerships with other community nonprofits.
Kay and Rod Heller are Franklin residents who are nationally recognized for their commitment to historical preservation and support of the arts.
Kay Heller currently serves as a board member for the Nashville Ballet and the Heritage Foundation in Franklin, and has served previously as a board member for the Florida Orchestra, Tampa Museum of Art, Musee d’Art Haitian and Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, D.C., among others. In the past, Rod Heller has served as chairman of WETA, Washington D.C.’s leading public broadcasting station, as well as chairman of the Finance Committee for organizations including the Washington National Opera, the Washington Ballet and the Phillips Collection.
Since Studio Tenn’s inception in 2009, the Hellers have provided consistent support, from offering organizational consultation to hosting out-of-town actors in their home. They believe StudioTenn has had an extraordinary effect on the artistic scene in Franklin, and it truly demonstrates the role of theater in the city.
“We are firmly of the view that Franklin will not only be the geographic center of Middle Tennessee, but also the artistic and historical center of our region,” they said in a statement. “In effect, it will be the hub for the creative and historic life of this area, just as the ‘Old Towns’ serve that role in so many European cities. It is difficult to imagine that Franklin can achieve that status without the vitality and excellence of Middle Tennessee’s leading theater company.”
The Hellers also applauded Studio Tenn for its commitment to community nonprofits, such as Backlight, an organization that provides theatre arts programs for adults with special needs.
This summer, Studio Tenn held a new play workshop for Backlight writers. In October, a select group of Backlight participants will perform alongside Studio Tenn cast members during One Night Only’s showcase.
“Theatre has a unique ability to enrich lives, and Studio Tenn does an excellent job of bringing this gift to often overlooked groups, including students, seniors and those with physical or social disabilities,” the Hellers statement read. “In doing so, they are able to inspire hope and provide much enjoyment.”
Lynne McAlister, development chair for the Studio Tenn Board of Directors, said the Hellers’ support and guidance has been instrumental to the company’s success and extensive community impact.
“The Hellers are a true gift to Franklin,” McAlister said. “Their vision for Franklin is to become the cultural center of the Southeast, and toward that end, they have been committed to Studio Tenn since the beginning. Asking them to be honorary chairs is just a way of thanking them for their steadfast commitment to Studio Tenn and to Franklin.”
Tickets for One Night Only are available at studiotenn.com/ono-2019. Studio Tenn is also currently selling tickets for “Mamma Mia!,” which is playing at Jamison Hall in the Factory at Franklin now through Sept. 8.