As Darren York walks through the doors of the Princess Theatre in downtown Harriman, his passion for the theatre’s history is evident.
“This is where the original concession stand was,” he says, referring to an area at the entrance of the theatre.
York knows every detail of the theatre. Stepping into the main auditorium that seats 540, York points out the wall décor—it has been restored to its 1930s art deco grandeur. He even mentions the space on each of the opposite walls where the original sconces once hung.
York understands how important the Princess is to the community because he grew up in Roane County. As a longtime Roane State Community College administrator and educator, York also has dedicated his professional life to education, a key mission of the Princess.
A sense of community and passion for arts education motivated York to become the new manager of the Princess Theatre. He is also managing the O’Brien Theatre on Roane State’s main campus.
York graduated from Roane County High School in 1986 and from Roane State in 1988. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Tennessee Tech in 1990 and earned a master’s degree in psychology from Austin Peay State University.
York’s Roane State career spans more than 20 years. He has served as coordinator of instructional technology, taught psychology, volunteered as scorekeeper for basketball games and been one of the college’s most passionate advocates.
York will continue to teach, but this spring, he is starting a new adventure as manager of the Princess Theatre and O’Brien Theatre.
“The O’Brien Theatre has a gem of an auditorium, with state of the art technology,” York said.
York said his goals for the O’Brien Theatre include promoting it not just as a theatre venue, but as a venue for private events, conferences, and workforce training.
Regarding goals for the Princess, York said that in addition to hosting community events, he hopes to create summer programs to promote the arts, screen classic movies, and show free Disney movies in the summer.
York considers both theatres as venues to promote the arts and education, especially for young people. York’s parents saw his love of theatre and sought out and exposed him to a variety of events at an early age. York’s goal is to return the favor.
“Growing up in Roane County it was difficult to find cultural and arts activities,” York said. “I would like to promote arts among rural America. The theatres have done a nice job presenting programs for middle and high school students but we need more events to target our younger children also.”
To contact York, call (865) 354-3000 ext. 4435 or email email@example.com.