Memphis has a growing arts scene. The Greater Memphis Arts Council (901/578-2787, http://about.artsmemphis.org) provides funding for more than 20 local arts groups, and is a good source of information about upcoming events.
Major arts venues include the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts (255 N. Main St., 901/576-1201, www.thecannoncenter.com) and the Orpheum Theatre (Main and Beale Sts., 901/525-3000, www.orpheum-memphis.com). They regularly book major artists and Broadway performances.
For theater, check out Playhouse on the Square (51 S. Cooper St., 901/726-4656, www.playhouseonthesquare.org). This dynamic Memphis institution serves as home to several of the city’s acting companies and puts on between 15 and 20 different performances every year. It also offers theater classes, school performances, and pay-what-you-can shows. The playhouse also screens classic movies on the first Sunday of each month.
Theatre Memphis (630 Perkins Ext., 901/682-8323, www.theatrememphis.org) is a community theater company that has been in existence since the 1920s. They stage about 12 shows annually at their theater in midtown.
TheatreWorks (2085 Monroe Ave., 901/274-7139, www.theatreworks.org) encourages off-beat and new theater with organizations including Our Own Voice Theatre Troupe, the Memphis Black Repertory Theatre, and the Playwright’s Forum.
The Memphis Symphony Orchestra (3100 Walnut Grove Rd., 901/324-3627, www.memphissymphony.org) puts on a varied calendar of performances year-round in its home at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts at 2155 North Main Street. The symphony was founded in 1952, and today has more than 850 musicians, staff, and volunteers.
Ballet Memphis (901/737-7322, www.balletmemphis.org) performs classical dance at the Orpheum and other nontraditional venues throughout the city.
The New Ballet Ensemble (901/726-9225, www.newballet.org) puts on performances around the city with “dancers in do-rags as well as tights,” according to the Commercial Appeal.
Project Motion (901/274-7139, www.projectmotiondance.org) is a contemporary dance collective that performs at Theatre Works at 2085 Monroe Avenue.
There are a half dozen multiscreen movie theaters in and around Memphis, including one at Peabody Place downtown. For independent movies, try Malco’s Paradiso (584 S. Mendenhall Rd., 901/682-1754, www.malco.com) or Studio on the Square (2105 Court St., 901/725-71751).
In the summer, check out the Orpheum (203 S. Main St., 901/525-7800) for classic movies, and the Summer Quartet Drive-In (5310 Summer Ave., 901/767-4320) for a drive-in experience.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition