Off The Square Theatre Company Keeps Franklin Entertained
Article by Dawn Burns
Photography by Provided
Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle
Off the Square Theatre Company (OTSTC) has been entertaining the Franklin community for the past eight years. Shannon and Greg Pope, along with other like-minded families, founded OTSTC to create a Christ-centered musical theatre and arts company that delivers exceptional and entertaining productions. “We wanted to see generations of students become leaders who value excellence in artistic expression and work ethic, and who are inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit,” says Shannon Pope.
Originally from the Raleigh, North Carolina area, the Pope family has lived near downtown Franklin for 20 years. The Popes have eight children who have all been involved in community theatre productions before OTSTC was founded. The Popes say they wanted to give their own children as well as other students a “challenging and rewarding outlet for their talents.” Over the years, all of the Pope children have held various roles in productions, such as costume design, building sets and marketing for the shows.
The company has had a few homes in Franklin including Mockingbird Theatre and Generations Church. When the Williamson County Performing Arts Center at Academy Park opened, OTSTC was invited to hold the venue’s first production and has been based there ever since.
The theatre group caters to families and engages audiences through song, dance, acting and visual storytelling. Greg Pope says he knows that they’ve delivered an excellent performance when a fellow Dad approached him after a show to say he felt he was being dragged to “another high school theatre performance” and was instead blown away by the energy, creativity and vibrance of the performance.
The Popes did not expect their theatre to grow into the close-knit community that it has become. “The kids love the OTSTC community as much as they love the shows we do,” states Greg. It is not unusual for former cast members who have graduated or are in college to return to be a part of productions.
Past shows have included Matilda, The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins and most recently, Willy Wonka. OTSTC is currently in the planning stages for their next production with details coming soon. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on show news and tickets. Facebook.com/OTStheatre/ Instagram: @otstheatre
Off The Square Theatre Company Recent Productions
1 – Matilda: Roald Dahl’s Matilda was adapted by the 1988 novel of the same name. The musical focuses on the story of Matilda Wormwood, a 5-year-old girl who loves reading and overcomes obstacles at school and home.
2 – The Wizard of Oz: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! This performance is based on the 1939 film that follows ruby-slipper-wearing Dorothy and her dog, Toto as they try to make their way back home along the yellow brick road.
3 – Mary Poppins: “A Practically Perfect” show where everyone’s favorite nanny helps to make the medicine go down! Based on the classic tale, Mary Poppins uses a combination of magic and common sense to teach the family how to value one another and takes them along for many adventures.
4 – Willy Wonka: This performance, full of sweet magical chocolaty goodness is an adaption of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. The show follows enthusiastic candy maker, Willy Wonka, as he stages a contest by hiding golden tickets in his candy bars with a grand prize of a free tour of the Wonka factory and a lifetime supply of candy.