All posts by Carolyn Corley

Third Thursday Theatre #8: Witness our transformation!

The stage is almost set for Knoxville Theatre Club’s regional premiere of Cindy & Ella, opening TOMORROW NIGHT at Modern Studio! KTC has transformed our stage at Modern Studio into a Dust Bowl-era “broken home.” Madness & Magic! Courage & Darkness! Humor & Sacrifice! Don’t miss this original re-imagining of the classic fairytale!

SEPT 22-23 & 29-30 // ADMISSION: $25, $15, $10, or $5
Learn More and Reserve Tickets at

Stranded in the lifeless heart of Dust Bowl-era Oklahoma, and reeling from the traumatic death of her mother, young Cindy Wicket teeters on the brink of madness. When her scheming Aunt Eudora arrives claiming ownership of the home and authority over Cindy, a turbulent battle of wits and wills ensues. Meanwhile, Eudora’s daughter Ella must wrestle with her own mounting desperation as she watches her hopes for the future vanish beneath dust, dead crops, and her mother’s all-consuming greed. With the arrival of a handsome young man from Chicago offering to buy the land, the stage is set for a final conflict over control of the homestead and the destinies of all who live there.


Bonny Pendleton
as Momma Gourd
Raine Palmer
as Ella Gourd
Maria Kauffman
as Cindy Wicket
Chad Wood
as Mr. Price

Written and Directed by
Sara Gaddis &
JP Schuffman

Come say HI during Modern Studio’s OPEN HOUSE during Happy Hollerpalooza, THIS SATURDAY, 9/23 from 12n–5pm.

Next up:

September 24, 2 PM: Full Disclosure Long-Form Improv Workshop

September 24, 7 PM: BlueJazz featuring Katy Free, Wendel Werner & WestWend

September 25, 6-9 PM: Sewing 102 w/Modern Seamstress – Moving Past the Basics

September 26, 7 PM: “Purple Ego,” Latin art & music by the Domino Ensemble

September 27, 8 PM: Full Disclosure Comedy Long-Form Improv Comedy Show

October 1, 3-6 PM: The Trans Empowerment Project of Knoxville presents Trans 101: Standards of Care

Coming soon…

Tiger Lily Theatre presents Fat Big by Neil Labute.
Oct 13–14, 19–21 at 8pm
ct 15 & 22 at 2pm


Third Thursday Theatre #7: Prepare Thyself for a Sizzlin’ September 🌶🌶🌶

This Sunday is your last chance to catch Lovers & Madmen’s incredible production of Julius Caesar at Modern Studio.

Full Disclosure returns with their long-form improv comedy show on Wednesday, August 23rd at 8 PM, and Knoxville Theatre Club presents an incredible opportunity for Ageless Glory with their first Theatre SLAM! on Friday, August 25 at 8 PM. Full Disclosure returns that Sunday, August 28 to nurture new improv-ers with a long-form improv workshop from 7-9 PM. Watch their event page here!

All of which is in preparation for a fantastic lineup of shows and acts in September. We kick off on First Friday, September 1 with Moving Theatre’s The Office. This gallery exhibition runs from 6-10 PM and includes three performances of the titular (hee hee) short play at 6:30, 7:30 and 9 PM. Then, stick around for the Ooh Ooh Revue’s Desire at 10 PM! Attendees of The Office get 20% off this sexy, sizzlin’ show!

Then, beginning September 15, KPAX is proud to host the Women in Black as they present WALLS: A Play for Palestine.

And that’s just the first half of September! Stay tuned for even MOAR…


Third Thursday Theatre #6: Awesome August!

We’re still celebrating the success of Knoxtravaganza 2.0, our second quarterly talent showcase of Knoxville’s finest performing artists! Mark your calendars for the next one on November 18!

Believe it or not, there’s even MORE to get excited about heading into the dog days of summer!

First, this coming Saturday we host Mr. Kevin McDonald (yes, THAT Kevin McDonald) for a night of hybrid comedy and styles with some Knoxville comedy artists of various flavors plus comedic storytelling, a “live interview” segment, sketch comedy and wild improv with a few local improv talents. SURE to be a night to remember with LOTS of LAUGHS! Tickets and more info here!

Full disclosure: sometimes it gets a little weird…

Thennn, Full Disclosure Comedy returns on Sunday, July 23 at 6:30pm with the first in a series of long-form improv workshops, followed by performances on alternating Wednesdays in August. Watch their event page here!

As the temperatures climb into the 90s, Retro Rewind back to the 80s with Ooh Ooh Revue’s First Friday show on August 4th!

Finally, Security gives way to Conspiracy as Lovers & Madmen present their intensely intimate Julius Caesar, Sunday evenings from August 6-20. Purchase advance tickets here!

Coming in September…

Moving Theatre presents The Office
Women in Black presents WALLS: A Play for Palestine
Knoxville Theatre Club presents Cindy & Ella

Fourth Friday Theatre: Take two! 🎬🎬

This July, we’re all about second chances for our audiences to enjoy returning performers!

Full Disclosure Comedy returns Sunday, July 9 at 7pm for another long-form improv workshop, AND their crowd-pleasin’ comedy improv show on Wednesday, July 12 at 8pm.


Then, did you miss Waiting for Godot? Fear not! All Campus Theatre presents TWO encore performances:
Saturday, July 8 at 7:30pm
Sunday, July 9 at 2:00pm


And thennn… 🎉🎉🎉 announcing our second quarterly–

KPAX Variety Show!

Whoop!! On Saturday, July 15 at 7pm, come enjoy complimentary refreshments and check out performances by O.G. KPAX-ers and some new friends! The lineup includes… 🥁🥁🥁

Brandon Gibson

The 5th Woman

Full Disclosure Comedy

Katharine Slowburn

Knoxville Theatre Club

Ooh Ooh Revue

SomeAntics Comedy

Theatre Obsolete

Tiger Lily Theatre


Coming in August…

Lovers & Madmen presents Julius Caesar
Knoxville Theatre Club: Theatre Slam!

T3 #5: Jumping into June 🐸🎭🌼

We’ve had a marvelous May hosting Yellow Rose Productions, Circle Modern Dance and Tiger Lily Theatre performances at Modern Studio. There’s much more performing arts goodness to come…

Theatre Magic!

First up, we have 70/30 Creative’s take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, edited to run approximately 75 minutes, at 8:00 PM on Saturday May 27th. FREE ADMISSION ($15 suggested donation) – they’ll make it worth your while, so what’s it worth to you?

BYOB, rated “PG-13” (parental discretion advised – the littles can catch a family-friendly version on Sunday at Ijams at 2pm)

On a Midsummer’s night, four young lovers find themselves tangled about an enchanted forest where sprites lurk and fairies rule. A feuding Fairy King and Queen cross paths with Bottom (Billy Kyle Roach), Quince (Caleb Burnham), and their gang of “rude mechanicals” presenting a play within the play. Chief mischief-maker Robin Goodfellow aka Puck (Raine Palmer) is on-hand to make sure the course of true love is anything but smooth. Games of mayhem, love and fantasy ensue in Shakespeare’s most magical comedy.

Yes, and…

Can’t get enough of Billy Kyle? Coming up in June, we’re very excited to announce that Full Disclosure Comedy is coming to Modern Studio, with their unique brand of intelligent, long-form improv comedy. The improv shows are still free and BYOB. Also, we will have food trucks on hand to make for a delicious dinner show.

Also, also? Their teaching workshops! The workshops are $15 per student, or $20 if you bring a friend to embarrass. More info coming soon!

June 4, @7pm: Long-form Improv Workshop
June 6, @8pm Full Disclosure Comedy Improv
June 18, @7pm: Long-form Improv Workshop
June 20, @8pm: Full Disclosure Comedy Improv

“The essential doesn’t change…”

Also, in June, we welcome director and UT student, Holly Montgomery, and All Campus Theatre as they present Beckett’s absurdly existential and/or existentially absurd Waiting for Godot. Performances are $15 general admission, $10 for students with ID.

Waiting for Godot tells the story of two men, Estragon and Vladimir, as they wait by a barren tree for the arrival of someone named Godot. While waiting, they quarrel, dance, contemplate suicide, eat, sleep, and discuss philosophy, religion, life, and death. As night draws near, they meet a Master and his Slave, and a young Boy claiming that he has been sent by Mr. Godot. When the same events take place the next day, the two men begin to question their existence and the inevitable futility of their wait for Godot, in what The NY World Telegram describes as “a portrait of the dogged resilience of a man’s spirit in the face of little hope.”

June 15, 16, & 17 @7:30pm
June 18 @2:00pm
Special encore performances: July 8 @7:30pm and July 9 @2:00pm


T3 #4: 🌷Spring~ing🌸 into Action!

Following up on our massively successful Grand Opening, we’re excited to announce this latest lovely lineup of performing arts shows this spring:

April 24 & May 1: Yellow Rose Productions Presents Second Annual Staged Reading Series for the Henley Rose Playwright Competition for Women

Yellow Rose Productions, a Knoxville-based theatre company, is hosting the second annual Staged Reading Series for the Henley Rose Playwright Competition for Women. Yellow Rose Productions teams up with various theatre artists from around Knoxville to perform these readings. The second and third place winners of this competition will be performed April 24th and May 1st at 7:30pm.

The Henley Rose Playwright Competition for Women began in early 2015 with endorsement from Pulitzer-prize winning playwright, Beth Henley. The competition offers women playwrights around the world an opportunity to be recognized for their work.

For more information, visit:


April 27-29: Circle Modern Dance presents Layer by Layer

An evening of exploration and commentary through movement, Layer by Layer performs Thursday, April 27th at 7pm, Friday, April 28th at 7pm, and Saturday, April 29th at 3pm and 7pm.

Made possible by a grant from the East Tennessee Foundation, Layer by Layer honors Circle Modern Dance’s past 26 years while looking forward to many more years of dancing. Throughout the evening, CMD core dancers and guest performers will explore vulnerability, love, and loss.

Tickets are $10 in advance for students/senior/military, and $13 general admission ( Tickets at the door are $13 for students/senior/military, and $15 general admission.

For more information on the event, please visit, or email

May 11-14: Tiger Lily Theatre presents 5th Annual Night of Shorts

Tiger Lily Theatre presents their 5th annual Night of Shorts, May 11-13 at 8pm, and a special Mother’s Day Matinee, May 14 at 2pm. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, available at the door.

 The show consists of original scenes, monologues, and even original music. Many contributors are from Knoxville, and all performers are local. This year’s selections range from a comical look at the Summer of 1605, a Grecian twist on Gilmore Girls, a new take on Rocky Top, and more.

Next up…

May 27: 70/30 CreativesA Midsummer Night’s Dream

T3 #3: Time to Show & Go!

We’re gearing up for our Grand Opening this Saturday! The doors open at 5:30 PM, and we’ve got a fantastic lineup of local acts offering a little something for everyone. Check it out:

7:00-7:20 Circle Modern Dance

9:55-10:05 The Moving Theatre

Plus, Farm-to-Griddle Crepes will be serving street-side supper and Single Barrel Events will be behind the bar making delicious drinks, including beer from Fanatic Brewing Company and Mill Creek Brewing Co.

We can’t wait for you to join us! In the meantime, please enjoy this article in the latest Knoxville Mercury about our fantastic local theatre community. You may see a few familiar faces and hopefully meet a few you never knew of before!

Third Thursday Theatre #2: Our Artistic Vision

We raised more than a few eyebrows when we said Modern Studio would include a theatre for the performing arts. “How exactly is that going to work?” many asked. While we faced some Doubting Thomas’s and Debbie Downer’s, for the most part folks were genuinely excited and curious to see this all come together. We didn’t exactly have a concrete plan from the get-go, but we knew we had a great idea. A “build it and they will come” kind of impetus. And whaddya know – it worked!

We’ve already put on a kickoff party for Tennessee Stage Co.’s New Play Festival, and this week we’re hosting Marble City Opera’s Chocolate & Wine benefit. So far this spring we have two theatrical productions and a dance show on the books.

We’re continuing to enhance the theatre space with modular partitions, platforms and curtains, and recently spec’d out some killer theatrical lighting instruments. Stay tuned in the coming weeks to learn how you can support this build-out effort!

We at Modern Studio believe in the artistic impact of the performing arts and how well the arts benefit our community. So we’re committed to making our space available to these groups and individuals at an affordable rate. Meanwhile, KPAX offers logistical, technical and promotional support so these artists can focus more of their resources, effort and attention on doing what they do best.

Our Grand Opening is Saturday, March 18, and will feature theatrical and dance performances alongside music acts throughout the evening. If you’re interested in participating in the Grand Opening, or renting the space for your own production, please hit up

Third Thursday Theatre #1: Get real!

Imagine what you could accomplish as a performer with unlimited resources…

Ok, now imagine what you could accomplish with just slightly less limited resources…

Seriously though, now imagine what you could accomplish when you didn’t have to spend more than half of your show budget just on venue rental, and could perform in a venue that actually put the needs of your production first. And now imagine that venue rental actually including production support like audience outreach.

Well, dream on and dream BIG! Modern Studio and the Knoxville Performing Arts Exchange are here to improve the way local performing artists produce their shows.

After years of producing, directing and performing in shows with various companies in and around Knoxville, I’ve noticed one common and gigantamous hurdle we’ve all faced: the cost and limitations of found space venues. Despite the size and diversity of our performing arts community – ranging from small community theatres and improv groups to professional theatre, dance and opera companies – up to now we’ve lacked a modestly sized theatre venue in which to rehearse and produce shows for any real length of time. Bars and entertainment venues (which can cost upwards of $1000 a night to rent) are geared mostly for music performances, with small stages and limited lighting capabilities. But to create a truly immersive, collective experience such as theatre or opera, you need a large performance area, you need good lighting, you need great acoustics. You need time to test your technical elements in tech rehearsal. Most importantly of all, you need comfortable seats and toilets really nearby.

Now, there’s a lot to be said for the found-space experience of performances. I’ve enjoyed them myself as both audience and performer in places ranging from a metal and woodworking shop to a marble works to a nightclub, converted car dealership, churches…and on and on. There is a unique intimacy that creates a singular connection between the audience and the performers. A special secret you share because you were there together for this one moment in this weird little space.

But being restricted to performing only in found spaces takes a toll. Time after time, we spend the better part of our budgets renting a venue for one-offs or one-weekend productions. We spend more money renting lights, sound equipment and extra chairs to lend the space somewhat of a theatre-esque quality. We exhaust ourselves and our wonderful volunteers loading everything in and schlepping everything out. We compete with the sounds of HVAC systems, street cleaners, sirens, and trains. We scramble to incorporate technical elements and navigate a new performance space in the wee hours just before an opening show.  Sure it’s a free adrenaline rush, but it gets old after a while!

It can also be hard to get you, our audience, to find us as we move from place to place to place. We put it all on the line, often only to barely make up our costs in ticket sales. “Where the hell is that? Where do you even park? Oh forget it, let’s just watch a movie instead.”

I’ve worked with so many incredibly talented artists in this town both onstage and behind the scenes, and so I found myself wondering what we could actually accomplish if the show budget wasn’t blown by venue rental. What if we could perform in a space that was actually intended for performance? What if we could have the luxury of time in such a place to test our technical elements. What if– what if someone working at that venue actually cared enough to help us out and even offered marketing and promotional support?

What if? Why not?!

So I came up with the idea for KPAX – the Knoxville Performing Arts Exchange (hoping against all hope that everyone has had time to forget that Kevin Spacey movie). I figured I had the chutzpah to pull a thing together for the betterment of the entire performing arts community. There are plenty of big buildings sitting cold and dark just in my neighborhood of Downtown North that could hold a theatre. Surely there are grants out there for this. Who wouldn’t want to give their money hand over fist for such a fantastic cause? Surely someone out there could see the brilliance of my plan!

Well, I had some chutzpah, but I needed more. There were empty buildings, but none that could support just shows. There were grants, but not for starting from the ground up.

Fortunately, there were several someones out there who saw the brilliance of my plan. I had the good luck of performing in Tiger Lily Theatre’s production of A Doll’s House with Victor Agreda, Jr. in December 2015. He’d had the idea of a multimedia/multi-use venue on his mind for years already. With that show, he got to experience first hand the hardships and hurdles a typical performing arts group faces in Knoxville. We performed in a dance studio, and we had one night to load in all our set pieces, build the set and stumble through a rehearsal to test our lights and sound. We waited for the last dance class to let out at 7:00 PM, and then started loading everything in. We blacked out the mirrors, assembled rod-&-drape rigs, focused lights, set up a sound booth, and brought in all our props, costumes and set dressing. By midnight, set construction still had not had enough time to complete, and we actors were sent home without a chance for a final dress rehearsal.

Still and all, we performed the show to small, but enthusiastic audiences. And then after just three days, we had to dismantle the whole production and pack it in. Didja get to see it? Didja hear about it? Didja want to?

Burke Brewer got to see that show. As an opera singer, she understood what we had to go through to put the whole thing on. She, too, wondered what we could’ve accomplished if we’d just a had little bit more…time, resources, SPACE!

Hard to believe that just over a year later Modern Studio is well on its way to becoming Knoxville’s premier venue for co-working, retail, music, and…da da da DA! Performing Arts!! I was more than a little thrilled when Burke & Victor came to me with their idea for the space. It seemed at once as improbable as it was impressive. And they wanted me and KPAX to be part of it. Would it really work? Would Knoxville go for it? Could we really find a developer to support it?

Shortly after one of my first meetings with Burke and Victor, I got a fortune cookie that said, “A new venture will be a success.” Well, I’ve never been lied to by a cookie. So the answer to all three questions, it now seems, was a resounding, “YES!”

Thanks to the wonderful support of Joe Fox of Fox & Fogarty, and Burke and Victor’s ingenuity, the building has transformed from decrepit realty to glorious reality. And thanks to their magnanimity, I’m able to make KPAX real, too. Modern Studio will provide a stable, affordable home for performing arts groups, with all the essential amenities and utilities for putting on top-notch shows. KPAX will provide production support ranging from promotional support and resource acquisition to complete project management consultation. It’s just the beginning of a beautiful friendship. You’re going to be hearing a lot from me, Burke, Victor, Kent Oglesby and Christian Rue about Modern Studio and all the shows and events we’ll host. Why not make yours one of them?

Contact me at for more information on KPAX and the performing arts at Modern Studio!