SCJJ Beauty and the Beast.jpg

During a dress rehearsal, David Woodfin, left, and Curtis Hice go over a scene for South Jackson Civic Center’s 2019 production of "Disney’s Beauty and the Beast."

Tullahoma is now home to an award-winning theater in South Jackson Civic Center.

The civic center announced recently that it has won 13 different awards from the 2020 BroadwayWorld Nashville awards, including Theatre Company of the Decade.

SJCC wasn’t the only group in Tullahoma to walk away with awards, as Tullahoma High School won Director of a Play of the Decade and Performer of the Decade; Tullahoma Dance Company won Best Dance Studio of the Decade and Motlow State Community College instructor Emily Seal won Arts Educator of the Decade.

The BroadwayWorld Nashville Awards is a regional awards show that highlights the arts in the Nashville region. Some theatres the region covers include the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC), Studio Tenn, Manchester Arts Center, The Arts Center of Cannon County, Franklin County Theatre, The Oz Arts Nashville and South Jackson.

For this year’s awards, BroadwayWorld decided to change the nominations to focus on the best in the decade instead of the year, as 2020 was a difficult year for the arts and theatre worlds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to South Jackson Civic Association Chairman Greg Gressel, SJCC has submitted entries for the awards in years past, but only had one or two productions make it to ballot, if any. This year marks the first time SJCC was nominated in several categories, as well as winning any awards from BroadwayWorld Nashville.

Gressel said it took a moment to take in the fact SJCC won 13 awards, as it was competing against several larger theater groups.

“It took a little bit to take in that we received 13 awards because there’s so many venues in the area,” Gressel said. “That’s pretty exciting to be an award-winning theatre.”

Another award Gressel was excited about that SJCC won was Volunteer of the Decade, which was awarded to Coleen Saunders.

Gressel said he was excited to see Saunders recognized for her dedication in volunteering and working behind the scenes at the center.

“Coleen is just a phenomenal volunteer at South Jackson, so it’s super exciting to see her recognized for that work over the years,” he said.

The excitement for winning several awards came at a good time, as SJCC also announced it would be taking an intermission for January and February due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the area.

“With our COVID numbers being so high in the county, it felt like the right time to take another intermission,” Gressel said.

Some of the shows that were scheduled for January and February have been postponed to the spring. Comedian Henry Cho’s show has been pushed back to April 2; Jazz on Jackson – Eric Mintel Quartet “Tribute to Dave Brubeck” has been moved to April 30 and “Last Roundup of the Guacamole Queens” has been moved to Sept. 16 – 19.

With the awards being announced on the same day as the intermission announcement, Gressel believes the excitement will keep going for what’s coming up for the near future of South Jackson and hopes things can get to the point where they can do shows without worrying.

“Hopefully some things will get under control that [allow us to] be able do theater the way that we love to do it,” Gressel said.

SJCC offices will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Offices will be closed from Saturday to Monday. For more about how to support SJCC, call 455-5321, email office@southjackson.org or go to southjackson.org.