Nashville Immigrants' Stories Featured in New Stage Production - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Nashville Immigrants' Stories Featured in New Stage Production

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by Emily Luxen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville's growing immigrant population is in the spotlight in a new stage production.

"Voices of Nashville" is presented by the Tennessee Women's Theater Project, and it explores how new residents from a variety of different countries adjust to life in Music City.

"In the last five years, I've noticed cultural diversity coming to Nashville," said Maryanna Clarke, Founder of the Tennessee Women's Theater Project. "I hope to introduce Nashvillians to their new neighbors in a way that isn't threatening."

To research the issue, Clarke, and playwrights Christine Mather and Sara Sharpe, interviewed multiple Nashville immigrants about their experiences. The play depicts stories of immigrants adjusting to life in Nashville while overcoming cultural and language barriers.

"It was amazing how generous and wonderful they were," said Christine Mather. " They were willing to talk about things that were difficult. There were some tears."

U.S. Census numbers show Nashville has one of the fastest growing immigrant populations in the country. In addition to the existing Kurdish and Hispanic communities, the city has seen substantial growth in residents from Sudan, Eastern Europe, Somalia, Egypt, Korea and other areas. Clarke said as the population grows, the issue becomes more important.

"I hope native Nashvillians get to meet their neighbor and understand there is no ‘us,' and there is no ‘them,'" said Clarke. "We are all Nashvillians."

Tennessee Women's Theater Project has operated as a non-profit organization since 2005, and relies largely on donations and grants to make each production happen. "Voices of Nashville" benefited from a successful Kickstarter campaign.

"Voices of Nashville" will run for about three weeks at the Z. Alexander Looby Theater on Rosa Parks Boulevard. After that, the performance will tour community centers, churches and social organizations across Nashville.

For more information on ticket sales for the show, and the Tennessee Women's Theater Project visit


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