New theater center to give students an inside look, training - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New theater center to give students an inside look, training

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Hattiloo Theater has big plans for students in Memphis.

The theater is working to make a long-term difference in the city with students. It all centers around their plans for a new building at the corner of Hollywood Street and Chelsea Avenue.

The founder of the theater is hoping to be able to purchase the building and turn it into an area where they can teach students about theater production. 

Students will get a chance to work behind the scenes of the theater and learn about set design lighting, among other aspects of production. It's all in an attempt to give children more opportunities.

"This is empowering. That is actually quite fun to be able to sit in the audience and say that you built something," Ekundayo Bandele, Hattiloo founder and CEO, said.

Bandele said the future is looking promising for the project, which will become known as the Hattiloo Technical Theater Center.

The theater is in the process of leasing the old Hollywood Head Start Center in North Memphis. They hope to turn children into potential theater masters.

"That's where the jobs are and that's where a lot of passion is unearthed," Bandele said.

He said negotiations with the city have made the price tag easy for the non-profit.

"A dollar a year for 25 years," he said.

With City Council approval on the lease, their first class will begin in February or March.

They hope to be able to go next door to Promise Academy for their first recruits. Those at the school are excited as well.

"They'll be great because the community doesn't really have anything at all," Theresa Diggs, school employee, said. "We have like a visual arts class in aftercare, so they'll really like it."

Bandele has a long-term plan for the center, with the hopes it will create a long-term difference.

"This is a permanent fixture in the community and so this is something that the community can take pride in," he said.

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