VanReece to lead Nashville Shakespeare Festival

After enjoying a successful eight-and-a-half year career in entertainment, corporate and health care licensing for the world’s largest performing rights agency, Broadcast Music Inc (BMI), Nancy VanReece has been named executive director of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival (NSF).

In this capacity, VanReece will guide NSF’s marketing, development and administrative functions as the treasured theater company enters its 20th season. VanReece decided to take a substantial financial sacrifice for this position; such is her passion for the arts in Nashville. She brings to NSF a total of twenty-five years experience in sales, marketing, promotion and business development including serving as president of an independent advertising agency for eight years as well as a successful personal recording artist and record producer manager for nine years. Her already impressive resume also covers additional experience working within the world of government and policy, lobbying public officials for various causes on the federal, state and local levels.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to be working with such wonderful people and bringing Shakespearean experiences to as many people as possible,” VanReece commented, her enthusiasm for the arts visible on her face as she spoke. 

Her passion is no surprise to anyone who is familiar with VanReece’s popular contemporary paintings featured prominently at the Roundabout Provence near Music Row or her work as president of the board of directors for People’s Branch Theater 2004-2006. VanReece also now serves on the board of directors for The Nashville Film Festival and on the Community Advisory Board for the Women’s & Gender Studies department at Vanderbilt University. In addition to all of this she is a published author and the newest edition to O&AN’s Arts & Entertainment staff.

“Everyone is familiar with Shakespeare in the Park,” explained VanReece, “so this year I want to put my real focus on letting people know about the educational programs that we offer every year and how important they are to the arts in our community.”

The Nashville Shakespeare Festival coordinates a year-long educational program that offers students in the mid-State unique and interactive opportunities to learn about the works of William Shakespeare, acting and theater arts. NSF also produces winter and youth productions as well as featuring a summer Apprentice Company for high school and college students. These programs bring Shakespeare into schools where much of the funding for the arts has been cut into shreds.

“A lot of the time the opportunities that we offer students are the only exposure to Shakespeare that they ever have outside of a textbook,” VanReece continued. “We get to bring those words to life for these students and show them that Shakespeare can be fun and cool, thereby increasing the chance that they will have a greater appreciation for the arts in the future.”

“NSF is fortunate to have Nancy join our company and our family at this incredible time in our journey. As we enter our 20th season, we are producing two shows in repertory for Shakespeare in the Park this summer, launching an all-teen, multicultural staging of Julius Caesar and providing more workshops and performances in schools throughout Middle Tennessee than ever before. There is such momentum building on our long history of excellence, and we are confident that Nancy and Artistic Director Denice Hicks are the right team to lead NSF into our next twenty years,” commented Bill Coleman, NSF board chair in a recent statement.

For a full list of events and more information on The Nashville Shakespeare Festival—including the 20th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park featuring not one but two of Shakespeare’s funniest and bawdiest of plays, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Two Gentlemen of Verona—please visit For more information on Nancy VanReece visit

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