Hattiloo Theatre makes national headlines, shines spotlight on Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Recently named one of the top 25 sites to see in the state of Tennessee, the Hattiloo Theatre is without a doubt an eye-catching Memphis landmark.

With its tin shell and unique shape, it stands out among the many live performance venues in the area.

"In the company of Playhouse on the Square, in the company of Circuit, in the company of Theatre Works this is what we bring to the table of our great city," said Ekundayo Bandele.

The theatre moved to its current location on Cooper Street in the heart of Overton Square in June 2014.

The building was designed by Archimania.

"Even though this building is three to four times larger than the building where we started on Marshall it's still intimate," Bandele told WREG's Markova Reed. "The glass in the lobby, it invites you to come in. The red ceiling, it brings you in kind of as a vacuum and even the way we are able to configure the stage."

Hattiloo is comprised of three buildings and the theatre itself is in the center of those three. It's designed that way to keep out the noise while you're here for a performance.

But being noted as a top spot in the state of isn't the only big news at Hattiloo. Bandele, who founded the theatre in 2006, decided it was time for him to step away as artistic director. In April, he tapped award-winning playwright and Memphian Katori Hall to take the reins.

"Her voice and the way that she crafts plays just fits what we do here. She speaks the soul of the people. She writes the soul of the people."

Hall, who received critical acclaim for her play "The Mountaintop", wants Hattiloo to be a pipeline for new writers, actors and playwrights.

"I really want this to be a landmark institution that is cultivating the new voices," she said.

She also plans to bring in TV and big screen stars to act with local talent.

"The quality that is being put on the stage is remarkable, but I feel we want to bump it up in terms of the professional level."

Hattiloo is a vibrant part of the artistic landscape of Midtown and it's one more reason Memphians can be proud of what our city means to the state.

If you have an idea for Bright Spot, email Markova Reed at markova.reed@wreg.com, message her on Facebook, or send her a tweet.