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Welcome to the website for Nite Lite Theatre of Gibson County, TN! We are a local theatre group that has been creating entertainment for our community for over 35 years! Take a look around and read about the history of Nite Lite Theatre, see what we are up to, and buy tickets for upcoming productions! If you have any questions, or are interesting in sponsoring the theatre, please feel free to contact us at office@nite-lite.org


Nite Lite Theatre is a non-profit community theater organization chartered in June of 1980 that is composed of an ever changing group of people throughout Gibson County; with members all of the surrounding counties.  It is a meld of people from all walks of life, professions, interests, and areas of the country – with no consideration of race, sex, creed, age or social standing. Their one common interest is love of live theater and the fine arts.

Nite Lite’s purpose is to produce plays and other works associated with the performing arts, to promote interest in theatre and the performing arts while providing educational and cultural opportunities for people of all ages.

Nite Lite's home theatre is the Peabody Little Theatre in Trenton although Nite Lite does perform in other theaters upon request. As a truly integral part of the community, Nite Lite has participated in the Teapot Festival, Paris Landing, Jackson Parks and Recreation Dept., provided workshops in theater, elocution, mime, makeup and sponsors two Children's Theater workshops and shows every summer at Milan Middle School. Nite Lite then presents three plays at Peabody Little Theatre each season for their patrons.   Nite Lite Theater also awards a $500 annual scholarship available to any Gibson County high school graduate who plans to major in one of the fine arts. The theatre’s contribution to the community was highlighted in the February, 1989 report to the Gibson County Court from the TVA Business Development consultant, which stated: "The county business leaders should promote the potential of the Nite Lite theatre in Trenton".

Nite Lite had its start in 1980 when a small group called on friends and acquaintances who shared this love. From that nucleus the formal organization was formed, bylaws were drawn up, and the first play was planned. The public demonstrated their enthusiasm for the new venture opening night, July 11, 1980.  As the house lights dimmed, the curtain opened and the first actor stepped on stage, the audience rose as one and gave a standing ovation to welcome the coming of live theater to the area!

Nite Lite is run by a board of directors and officers comprised of fifteen individuals from around the county and surrounding area. Anyone can be a member of the theatre with payment of small annual dues, presently $15.00 for a single membership and $25 for a family membership.

Creating a play is an intricate project that involves a large group of people. The 'Director' is artistic king, who is closely watched by his exchequer - the 'Producer' who holds the purse strings. Then there is the assistant director, music director, choreographer, technical director, stage manager, house manager, artists, musicians, publicity director, costumer, makeup specialist, set designer, set crew, sound and lighting technicians and prop crew.  These are the unsung heroes of live theater.  For two months or more, cast and crew give (no recompense) of their time, talent and energies while creating the magic. As they memorize lines, paint sets, vocalize, adjust the sound system, practice a dance step, put up posters, fit costumes, sell tickets, round up furniture, block the action, beg to borrow one more prop, try the scene one more time; they become a family. The intensity of the work and rehearsal schedule seems to compact a lifetime into a space of a few weeks. And then after the frenzy of sound, color and energy - it is finally here -   opening night! CURTAIN!

The cost of a show is tremendous. Royalties can range upwards of $3500, as well as sets, director fees, props, publicity, tickets, costumes, makeup, lights, etc. Ticket sales do not cover these expenses. For many years Nite Lite has received a Rural Arts Project Grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission that helps cover some of the administrative costs of running the organization, as well as a grant from Arts Builds Communities from the Northwest Tennessee Development District.  The bulk of financial backing necessary to produce the productions comes from the donations of Sponsors, and Donors. These civic minded 'angels' form the backbone of the organization and are awarded membership and tickets to the three main shows of each season.

Since 1980, Nite Lite Theatre has produced around 150 shows, including such classics as "Guys & Dolls," "Steel Magnolias," "You Can't Take it With You," "Annie," "Willy Wonka," "Arsenic & Old Lace," "Barefoot in the Park," "The Odd Couple," "Fiddler on the Roof," and "Oklahoma!" With the dedication of the staff and performers and your support, we are able to continue producing works year after year in order to preserve an appreciation for community theatre in West Tennessee.

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Nite Lite seeks public’s support to keep doors open

On June 20, 1980, Johnny McIlwain Jr., Jocleta Combs Hamilton, Nancy Hall, Judy Harrell, and Joe Hammonds signed the charter on behalf of Nite Lite Theatre of Gibson County, and thus we began. 

Berlynne Holman was the first actor to grace the Nite Lite stage in “Plaza Suite,” our first production -- she received a standing ovation. “Fiddler on the Roof” was our first musical, starring Johnny McIlwain and Jocleta Hamilton. Community theatre became a part of Gibson County and the surrounding area, and the community became enamored with Nite Lite. 

There were so many people who wanted to be a part of this local cultural phenomenon, we often had double casts! 

We’ve performed such favorites as “The Sound of Music,” “Arsenic & Old Lace,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Harvey,” “Little Women,” and “Steel Magnolias.” We’ve performed such children’s plays as “Aladdin, Jr.,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Shrek,” and “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” just to name a few.  Nite Lite has supported and performed local playwright, Will Radford’s production of “Law & Disorder,” and most recently “The Cast List” by Knoxville playwright Gayle Greene, which was directed by her daughter and Nite Lite board member Tiffany Tallent. 

Nite Lite’s mission is simply to produce plays and other works associated with the performing arts and to promote interest in theatre and the performing arts while providing educational and cultural opportunities for people of all ages. We produce top-notch children’s shows and provide opportunities for the children and youth in our community to learn new skills such a creating and performing with puppets, making masks and costumes, learning make-up techniques to create woodland creatures and some of our most beloved animated characters. Nite Lite offers a $500 scholarship annually to any individual majoring in the fine arts, be it acting, music, or art. 

Bringing a play or workshop to the community is a daunting task and requires many people, most of whom receive only your applause, laughter, or even tears as “payment” for their hard work. And what a feeling that is, to deliver a line and know the audience “got it!” 

We’ve often said when the audience laughs or applauds, or even has to break out the tissues, “we’ve got them.” For a small portion of time, you forgot screaming and fighting kids, all the pressure of work, the dirty dishes in the sink, and the flat tire you had on the way to work yesterday. We give you permission to forget all of that for the moment and join us in the playwright’s world, feeling the characters’ feelings and sharing their secrets.   

But giving you this gift isn’t cheap. 

All shows and workshops have costs and fees that can range from $4,000 to $10,000 per production. Those costs are for royalties, for scripts and music, set construction, the director, the producer, musicians, choreographers, costumes, etc. Multiply that by three to four productions per year, and that comes to a significant amount of money. 

Nite Lite depends on our sponsors, members, and local businesses to help support these endeavors. While we do receive two state grants annually from the Tennessee Arts Commission -- The Rural Arts Program (RAPS) and Arts Building Communities (ABC) -- those funds are matching grants, which means we must spend that much under their requirements to receive those amounts. And though we have been fortunate to obtain these grants, or a portion of what is available through the State of Tennessee, they are not nearly enough to cover what it takes for Nite Lite Theatre of Gibson County to continue to bring the community quality entertainment. 

In addition to production costs, we also have to maintain the rent for our theatre space and the stages on which we perform, since we don’t have our own. We have insurance, utilities, office supplies and upkeep, and do all this with only one part-time employee, who is our office manager.  Everyone else -- all the people you see on the stage and most of them behind the scenes, not only volunteer and contribute their time and talent, but also contribute in the form of memberships or sponsorships. 

We’ve just recently begun logging our volunteer hours – board members, actors, set builders, costumers, parents who help out when their children are in shows, and we logged over 7,000 hours in our 2017-2018 alone!

Nite Lite’s expenses for 2018 were in excess of $48,000, while its income was just over $35,000. You don’t have to be a math whiz to figure out we won’t be able to last long without your support. While it is wonderful to have so many choices for entertainment in our small community - football games, band competitions, charity fundraisers, and the like have resulted in a decrease in attendance and sponsorships in our shows over the past five to seven years. We’ve kept our prices lower than the live theatres in Jackson, Union City, and the surrounding area, yet we believe we offer the same quality of entertainment. 

Quite simply put, we need your help. In order to maintain Nite Lite Theatre of Gibson County, an institution in our community for nearly 40 years, we need you and our local businesses and companies to facilitate our efforts. I’m often asked why we can’t bring certain shows -- namely popular Broadway and off Broadway shows, to our stage and the answer is quite simple. We can’t afford them. 

Trust me, Nite Lite would love to have the chance to perform them, but the royalties, music, and the costs to produce them are so much more than the $4,000 to $10,000 mentioned above, they’re just not feasible at this time. We have the talent -- we need the backing and support.

So Nite Lite is asking you, the public, to join us and to help keep live theatre and children’s workshops in Gibson County.   

We need your memberships, your sponsorships, and even your financial donations to keep us going. Please visit our website www.nite-litetheatre.org or contact our office manager, at 731-855-2129 and consider becoming a member or sponsor. A general sponsor is only $75 per season and gives you two tickets per season performance and if you’re encouraged to do more, we have other levels of sponsorship, each providing more tickets and opportunities with Nite Lite. 

WE NEED YOU. We need our local communities, towns, leaders, businesses, other civic groups, and those passionate about encouraging and promoting the arts in Gibson County to step forward with your checkbook and help to keep us going. 

Donate to Support Nite Lite Theatre
Production dates are November 21st at 7:00 pm, November 22nd at 7:00 pm, and November 23rd at 2:00 pm, at The First Presbyterian Church in Trenton, TN

Production dates are November 21st at 7:00 pm, November 22nd at 7:00 pm, and November 23rd at 2:00 pm, at The First Presbyterian Church in Trenton, TN

This production was underwritten by Gibson Publishing

Nite Lite is excited to announce the cast list for this up coming production. Director Betsy Boals would like to thank everyone for auditioning and Betsy is proud to say that everyone who auditioned got a part!

Father Bob Bradley - Tim Yarbrough

Mother Grace Bradley - Cyndi Yarbrough

Beth Bradley - Alyssa Basham

Charlie Bradley - Aquilias Fuller

Ralph Herdman - Grant Hensley

Imogene Herdman - Lyric Boals

Leroy Herdman - Warner Boals

Claude Herdman - Samuel Tillman

Ollie Herdman - Ryan Schaefer

Gladys Herdman - Sarah Lay

Alice Wendlekin - Bonnie Powell Riddick

Mr. Armstrong - Jared Hamlin

Mrs. Clausing - Judy Carpenter

Mrs. McCarthy - Melissa Roberts

Maxine - Shelby Mayo

Elmer Hopkins - Keilan Milton

Beverly - Sophie Hatcher

Shirley - Lille Smith

Juanita - Jaylynn Terry

Reverend Hopkins - Phillip Griffin

Angel choir - Riley Schaefer

Baby Jesus - Bethanie Powell-Riddick


Annie will be presented March 13, 14, 20, 2020 at 7:00 pm and March 15, 21, 22, 2020 at 2:00 pm at Peabody High School

Nite Lite Boxer Trot Run

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2019 Nite Lite Boxer Trot

Above are the winners L to Right Chris Jones 1st place 35-39 Male. Reagan Jones 1st place under 12 female, David Arrington 1st place 60 and over male, Livia Pybas 1st place 13-19 female, MaKynzie Thompson 2nd place 13-19 female.

Thank you Boxer Trot Sponsors!

2018-19 Season Nite Lite Acting Awards Winners

Best Actor:

Adam Foote (Edna Turnblab) Hairspray

Best Supporting Actor:

 Jared Hamlin (Corny Collins) Hairspray

Best Actress:

 Autumn Jackson (Tracy Turnblab) Hairspray

Best Supporting Actress:

 CaRae Tubbs (Velma Von Tussle) Hairspray

Best Teen Actor:

 Grant Hensley (Shrek) Shrek

 Best Supporting Teen Actor: TIE

 Jacob Landers (Lord Farquad) Shrek

Seth Gateley (Pinocchino) Shrek

Best Teen Actress:

Hayleigh Powell-Riddick (Fiona) Shrek

Best Supporting Teen Actress:

Stokely Ellison (Wicked Witch) Shrek

The Zak Award:

Kathi Burriss in memory of Ryan Burriss


Pictured above L to R Kathi Burriss, Jacob Landers, Jared Hamlin, Hayleigh Boals-Riddick, Grant Hensley


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Are you planning on majoring in any of the fine arts? Are you a Gibson or crockett county resident or have been active been an active participant in Nite Lite Theatre? If you are we invite you to apply for our Nite lite Scholarship. 

METHOD:  The applicant must completely fill out the below link (or copy of) official Nite Lite Theatre Arts scholarship form (print neatly).  It must then be signed and dated by both the applicant and parent/guardian if applicant is a minor.  In addition, please furnish a statement of experiences, accomplishments, and career goals in the arts, including a descriptive statement of future plans and fields of study.  All materials must be received by June 15 2019.  

Applications can be mailed to: Nite Lite Theatre P.O. Box 319 Trenton, TN  38382 or emailed to: nitelitetheatre@gmail.com 

RECOMMENDATIONS REQUIRED:  (3 letters total)-A letter from a person who has or is currently instructing the applicant (teachers of fine arts). Two letters of character endorsement from responsible persons who are NOT related to the applicant.  These letters must be signed, dated, and include the phone number and the address of the author. 

PERSONAL INTERVIEW:  Applicant may be contacted by the Scholarship Committee for a personal interview. 

AWARDS:The recipient of the $500.00 scholarship will be announced and notified by June 15, 2019.The money will be awarded upon proof of entry in school in the fall showing the designated field of study.The scholarship will be forfeited if the proof of entry and designated field of study is not received by Nite Lite by October 1st 2016, or the recipient changes his/her major from the arts to another field before that date.

To download the application click here



Each year Nite Lite Theatre offers a scholarship to an individual graduating from High School or is already enrolled in a college or university majoring in the Arts.  Nite Lite is very proud to announce that Kizer Brown is the 2019 recipient. Kizer graduated from South Gibson County High.  He began his musical career on his great grandfather’s trombone in the 6th grade.  He is a 3rd generation music education student – both his grandfather Tony Burriss, and his mother, Emily Brown are band directors in the West Tennessee area.  Kizer has been an All-West participant for 5 years and was an All-State member in 2017. He has been principal Trombone of the SCCHS for 4 years and was Drum Major his senior year.  Kizer attended Governor’s School for the Arts in 2018.  Kizer plans to attend University of Alabama to study Music Education this fall.