Scopes Festival and Tennessee Valley Theater partners for the 29th annual Scopes Festival

The Scopes Festival and Tennessee Valley Theater are joining hands this year as the community prepares to celebrate the 29th annual Scopes Festival July 14-23.

“TVT will be handling ticket sales for the festival, members of their technical crew will help with lights and sound and some of their actors will be invited to appear on stage for the Scopes play Front Page News,” said festival Chairman Tom Davis.

Front Page News (

“TVT has a wonderful history of producing top-notch plays and presenting other entertainment throughout the year. We are delighted that the TVT leadership has agreed to take a significant role in helping the festival tell the story of the Scopes Trial.”

Karen Hilleary Beck, Tennessee Valley Theatre’s president, said, “TVT is thrilled to be a part of this community-wide celebration of our Rhea County heritage. Recreating a historical event through dramatic presentation is a fantastic avenue in bringing our past to life. This show’s funny and entertaining manner engages people of all ages, and exhibits the intricacies of healthy debate on these historical issues. FrontPage News is an outstanding piece of work we are excited to bring to our community!”

Harry Landreth, a key founding member of TVT, spent more than 15 years as a Cumberland County Playhouse volunteer/actor and brought the same deeply rooted volunteer spirit to create TVT in Spring City. Since opening the doors in June of 1996, TVT has staged more than 100 plays and musicals, showcased countless guest performing artists, held 35 free workshops for youth to engage in performing arts, and worked with local school systems to expose more than 3,600 young minds to performing arts every year. To celebrate 20 years, the 2017 season will feature in June the initial show from 1996, “Rumors” by Neil Simon.

“Community theater, especially in rural areas, relies completely on volunteers and community involvement to be successful,” Ms. Beck said. “Creating community bonds such as the March 4 benefit for the victims of the Gatlinburg fires is another example of TVT’s commitment to engage and enhance our region.” The benefit features EmiSunshine and the Mt. LeConte Jug band.

Front Page News is produced in cooperation with Crossville’s Cumberland County Playhouse, the largest rural professional theatre company in Tennessee. For more than 50 years the Playhouse has been earning rave reviews for its production of plays, concerts and programs not usually found outside large cities.

“Our partnership with the Playhouse allowed the Scopes Festival to take a giant leap forward in the quality of the play we present,” Mr. Davis said. “Now we hope our partnership with TVT will help reinforce the reality that the Scopes Trial was a community event and truly is part of our county heritage. We so appreciate TVT’s joining with us to help us tell this part of Rhea County’s story.”

Jim Crabtree, consulting producer with Cumberland County Playhouse who has directed the play for the past three years, also will continue as director. “Jim was a driving force behind adapting the play to its present form and encouraging the cast and crew to give the audience their best possible performance. We’re excited to have Jim back again and look forward to another great production under his direction,”

Mr. Davis also expressed thanks to Bryan College for its expression of renewed interest in the Scopes Festival. The college will provide logistical support for the play.

The Scopes Festival is made possible in part by support from Rhea County, the City of Dayton, and the Tennessee Arts Commission.