Skip to main content

Cothran_RobertUT professor emeritus and celebrated scenic designer Bob Cothran will be awarded the Clarence Brown Theatre Society Artistic Achievement Award at this year’s Clarence Brown Theatre Gala on Sunday, June 8.

Tickets are now on sale for the 6:30 p.m. gala, which will be downtown at the Standard Knoxville, 416 West Jackson Avenue. They are $200 per person. Sponsorship packages also are available. To purchase a ticket, email, call 865-974-5654, or go online.

A cocktail hour will be followed by a full-course meal, during which Cothran will be toasted. There will be a live auction for elaborate and extravagant packages.

The gala celebrates the theatre company’s fortieth anniversary season and benefits the Clarence Brown Theatre Artists Fund Endowment, which helps bring professional guest artists to the theater stages. Hailing from around the globe, guest artists engage and teach undergraduate and graduate students, while creating the world-class theater experiences that greater Knoxville audiences have come to expect.

“Bob Cothran’s scenic designs are seared in the memories of longtime patrons of the Clarence Brown Theatre,” said Calvin MacLean, Clarence Brown Theatre producing director and head of the UT Theatre Department. “His legacy of taste, craftsmanship, and imagination remain with us today. One needs only to see pictures and drawings to know that part of the success of the CBT is due to Bob’s consummate artistry. One needs only to meet the man to know that this artistry comes from a deep sensitivity to the people and the world around him.”

From 1972 to 1998, Cothran was a faculty member of the Theatre Department, where he taught set design, drawing, and scenic painting. He designed the sets for many department and CBT productions, most notably The Merchant of Venice, The Tax Collector, and the revolving set for A Christmas Carol. In the 1980s, Cothran redesigned an updated set for the Knoxville Nativity Pageant and continued to enhance it for the next twenty years. He also designed and painted settings for several opera productions for the Rossini Festival.

Throughout his career, he has expressed himself through graphic design, printmaking, and mural painting. His lithographs are in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the Ammon Carter Museum, UT, and other public and private collections.