Discovery Park of America Offers Free Classes to Historical Theater Academy and Partners with Masquerade Theatre

Union City, Tenn. – Thanks to generous sponsors and donors, Discovery Park of America will be offering free classes to the Historical Theater Academy this fall. Discovery Park is now partnering with the Masquerade Theatre in Union City to teach students skills in acting, writing, directing, costume design, research and more.

This session, students will be producing a play about how Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, making women’s suffrage legal in the United States.

The Historical Theater Academy is a unique program designed for students in grades 6-12 that takes place at Discovery Park twice each year. Academy participants receive instruction in multiple aspects of theater and historical research and then stage a performance of the original work they create. In addition to gaining experience in numerous disciplines including acting, set design, costuming, writing and historical research, students learn collaboration skills.

Students in grades 6-12 are encouraged to join us at Discovery Park for this wonderful opportunity to learn and grow in the theater world. The classes will include some breakout sessions with grades 6-8 in one and grades 9-12 in the other with some work being done together in a larger group. Discovery Park will strictly follow all recommended health and safety guidelines for employees and participants.

“Thanks to our sponsors and the support of the board from the Masquerade Theatre, this year’s semester and production is going to be one of the best,” said Zach Rea, education specialist and instructor of the HTA program. “It’s a great opportunity for local and regional students to come together, research, plan, rehearse and then perform in a show. To feel a sense of price once it all comes together is a wonderful experience.”

When brainstorming on how to grow this program, one idea was to get the local theater involved. Melanie Hollis, one of the directors for the Masquerade Theatre, said, “When Discovery Park asked if we were interested in partnering with the Historical Theater Academy, we were thrilled. Our theater strives to enhance our community by offering an invaluable experience of the arts, and to partner with Discovery Park just helps us reach even more students and share our commitment to bringing the arts to this area.”

This year, the performances on Dec. 4 and 5, 2020 will take place at the historic Capitol Theatre in downtown Union City, where the Masquerade Theatre holds its productions. The Capitol Theatre, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, holds a rich history itself. It was built in 1927 as a movie theater, and it still has the neon Art Deco marquee from 1939 that lights up downtown Union City at night. It went through several renovations, closed for a period of time and then was reopened under Masquerade Theatre, a small group of the community who had a passion to share the arts and theater with the local and regional communities.

“To have students from Discovery Park’s Historical Theater Academy perform at the Capitol Theatre is really special,” says Lauren Tanner, director of Main Street Union City and member of the Masquerade Theatre. “Bringing the community back to downtown is a goal of Main Street, and I believe tying in our biggest tourist attraction with our local historic theatre will bring more guests to experience the charm and uniqueness of downtown Union City.”

Classes begin on Tues., Aug. 18, 2020 and are held on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. at Discovery Park, and they will be taught by instructors from Discovery Park and the Masquerade Theatre.

The performance will take place on Fri., Dec. 4 and Sat., Dec. 5, 2020 at the Capitol Theatre.

To sign up for this program, click here. If you any questions, please email Nathaniel Newlin at

A special thanks to our friends at the Obion River Regional Library Center for their contribution.

For more information, visit

Photo Cutline: Graham Carroll of Clinton, Ky., performs in the production of “Hamilton and Burr,” a play written, researched and directed by the students of the Historical Theater Academy.