By JOHN McBRYDE
Maybe it’s in their genes. Or perhaps it’s in the water.
Regardless of where it might emanate, talent seems to be abundant in Williamson County, especially among the youth.
And that’s where the relatively new company Source One Five has found its niche. Founded by three people with vast backgrounds in songwriting, acting and theater production, the company is designed to help performers navigate their way through the opportunities that can be tapped and to overcome challenges that may arise.
“We saw the creative community here as really strong, and we just wanted to add to it and to kind of fill in the gaps,” said Anna Bovi, a lifelong resident of Franklin who serves as one of the group’s artistic directors. “We’re really here to support each other rather than have a competitive nature. That’s really important to us.”
Bovi, whose father is Christian and mainstream recording artist Michael W. Smith, has joined with Spring Hill resident Rachel
Meinhart and her husband, Chicago native Conner Meinhart, to provide online resources and training for people of all ages interested in the realm of theater.
Rachel, a graduate of Independence High School, and Conner have been living in Chicago for the past 10 years, working in various aspects of theater including acting, production and training. Bovi, of course, grew up in a musical family and has written many original songs and also performed. She produced her first musical a few years ago titled “Franklin: the Musical.”
The Meinharts recently moved to Franklin, and Source One Five is well under way. The company’s name refers to the fifth verse from John 1, which reads, “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” It’s also something of a pun for area code 615.
“Our heart and our passion for this company was to be a source of light, to instill that in whoever wants to learn about the arts,” Bovi said.
As part of the group’s objective — and a passion for all three partners — Source One Five produces four shows a year and casts local talent. Its next production is “The Latchkey Brigade,” which is set during World War II and was written primarily by Bovi. It’s a reworking of her “Franklin: the Musical,” with additional writing from Rachel and Conner Meinhart.
“It’s an original work,” Rachel said. “It’s been a collaborative effort on all of our ends. We really wanted to think of a show that could house our mission statement. It’s a big cast. It’s really turned into something bigger than we could image. We’ve been very blessed with the talent, and we’re already getting a good amount of ticket sales in and we just announced it.”
“The Latchkey Brigade” will also feature Smith’s first foray into live theater. He wrote the music for the show.
“I’m a big theater guy,” Smith said. “I love the musicals, ‘The Newsies,’ ‘Sound of Music,’ ‘Mary Poppins’, all of that. it’s all part of the fabric of my life, and so it’s been fun.
“They’re driving this thing,” he added. “I’m here to fix anything or if we need to tweak something, we can do that. I love it.”
If much of the talent from performers in “The Latchkey Brigade” or other shows — and there are plenty in Franklin and elsewhere in the region — comes naturally, learning the nuances of the profession comes through workshops, one-on-one lessons and master classes with local industry leaders in all areas of the arts. And that’s the thrust of the mission set forth by Source One Five.
“A lot of kids are ready to go out there but they don’t have the connections,” Rachel Meinhart said. “They want to know, ‘What does auditioning look like? What do I wear? What website do I go to?’ These are common and easy questions to answer, and they just need the right source.”
For even more training and new opportunities of learning for youngsters, Source One Five has scheduled summer camps for grades 3-5 and 4-6 in June.
“The Latchkey Brigade,” which features a large cast of locals ages 9-43 and is currently in rehearsals, will be performed May 10-12 at The Mockingbird Theater at The Factory at Franklin.