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Tennessee Theatre airs ‘Pass the Mic’ episodes on East Tennessee PBS
August 2, 2023

Series celebrates diverse, marginalized and
underserved artists and audiences

KNOXVILLE - The Tennessee Theatre has released the first two episodes of its “Pass the Mic: Creating a Stage for Change” series which can now be viewed through East Tennessee PBS Passport.

“Pass the Mic: Creating a Stage for Change” launched in 2022 and provides an opportunity for artists from marginalized and underserved communities to share their art with others. Through performances, visual art displays, discussions and panels focusing on important issues and educational opportunities, artists have the chance to engage with the community and share insight.

“When we started this series, we knew we wanted it to be more than just a concert on our stage,” said Becky Hancock, executive director of the Tennessee Theatre. “We wanted to also focus on the important conversations the artists were having before they went on stage. We partnered with Big Slate Media to record and produce these episodes so that anyone, anywhere can connect with these artists in a new and unique way.”

“Ensuring art programming is available to everyone in our region has long been a core mission of East Tennessee PBS,” said Barbara Shipley, chief development and marketing officer of East Tennessee PBS. “Partnering with the Tennessee Theater on the Pass the Mic series helps extend our mission, and we are proud to play a role in this vital endeavor.”

In the first episode, Black Opry Revue artists Chapel Hart, Autumn Nicholas, Jennah Bell, Joy Clark, Kam Franklin, Roberta Lea and Nikki Morgan perform at the Tennessee Theatre. Before performing on stage, the artists had a candid conversation about the history of Black musicians in country music and shared stories of their experiences, inspirations and hopes for the future of the industry.

In the second episode, the theatre welcomed Las Cafeteras and Making Movies. The groups met before taking the stage and discussed the history of Latin American music in the United States, sharing stories of their experiences in honoring the traditions of the past while taking folk music into an exciting new future for generations to come.

“When someone has a microphone in their hand, people listen,” Hancock said. “Pass the Mic is just one of the ways we help the Tennessee Theatre make a lasting impact on our community and beyond.”

A “Pass the Mic” podcast series also is out now and listeners can access episodes through Apple Music, Spotify and by visiting The project is supported in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and produced by the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation.

For more information, please visit and follow Tennessee Theatre on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Spotify.

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