Bells Theatre

115 E. Main Street,
Bells, TN 38006

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calldon
calldon on September 28, 2010 at 10:48 am

New Flickr set with three interior shots of the Bells Theater. Check back soon for more photos will be added.
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calldon
calldon on September 28, 2010 at 10:11 am

The Bells Theatre was owned by the family who owned the Wintergarden food processing plant, now known as PictSweet products. It was closed in the early ‘70s and used a storage by the company, filled with filing cabinets and old office furniture. In the mid-1970s, Joe Kincaid moved his pop-vocal studio from Alamo to the Bells Theatre. His former students included Linda Thompson-Jenner-Foster and Marty Slayton. Joe cleaned up the threatre, painted the lobby, built dressing rooms in the basement under the stage and added light and sound systems. It was used for live theatre and the studio musical productions. The projection room is still there and was used for a control room, spotlights, etc. Although it was called “Kincaid Studio,” at one point Joe hung a sign that said “Wintergarden Theatre” which was not an official name.

When Joe tragically passed away in the mid-1980s, his sister, former Miss Tennessee, entertainer, recording artist and studio singer, Deby Kincaid took over the studio and taught 150+ voice students per week until around five years ago when the roof of an adjoining building fell in. Due to structural damage, a local architect suggested it might not be safe to have the kid in every week. So the studio was moved to another location. For almost thirty years, the theatre held musical shows several times a year, with five or more performances each time to SRO audiences.

I drove by in April ‘10 and the back stage-door was open. I only had a small flashlight with me. Since it has been unused now for 5 years or so, the interior was typically damp and musty smelling. After many years as a local movie house followed by over 20 years of live musical productions involving literally thousands of young people, the theatre is now standing empty and dark. The buildings on the right side (north) have been razed. I don’t know what the future holds at this point. Downtown Bells ain’t what it used to be. Like many small towns, people shop “down the road” in the larger communities. The theatre was lucky to have Joe and Deby to keep the building alive with music and productions for 30 years. At least, the building is still there. More current photos will be posted shortly.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 27, 2007 at 7:32 pm

The January 2006 photo says aka Wintergarden.

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on February 1, 2006 at 3:13 pm

Here is a photo from January 2006 of the Bells Theatre.

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on January 17, 2006 at 5:13 pm

The theatre is still standing, but in much need of repair. Its address is 115 E Main St, Bells, TN 38006. Will have a posting of the photo in Feb 2006. The theatre looks to have been built sometime between 1920 and 1945.