Raise your voice

Raise your voice

In 1995, Voices of the South, a nonprofit company centered in Memphis, was founded to craft and perform theatrical productions of local Southern literature. In 2015, the organization celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Voices of the South has produced over 70 shows. The majority debuted original scripts like Temple of the Dog, Distance and Skin and Bones. Their performances are diverse, from the retelling of myths like in Reasons for Falling: a Story of Icarus to solo storytelling like in Glory Stories. The most current show was an award-winning staged reading of the coming-of-age story, Cicada, written and performed by Jerre Dye, artistic director at VOTS.

The company is also responsible for the annual Memphis Children’s Theatre Festival which brings a wealth of theatrical art to the Rhodes College campus. The festival spans several days and charges only a pay-what-you-can fee, allowing the general public access to the performances.

“I feel that theatre is an under-appreciated art form in many places and everyone should have a chance to see it,” Zoe Scott (11) said.

Voices of the South’s audience includes all ages. Students at White Station who are interested in performance art, design or script-writing could benefit from becoming involved by learning some important skill sets that come with practicing theatre production. The organization accepts volunteer applications on their website, voicesofthesouth.org.

VOTS is affiliated with other Memphian theaters such as the Orpheum, Playhouse on the Square, and Theatre Memphis. They have also partnered with the University of Memphis and Shelby County Schools.

By placing an emphasis on locality and Southern culture, VOTS embraces surrounding artists and gives them the tools and support they need to cultivate their projects.