Executive Director, the Belcourt Theatre
Seems like the Belcourt Theatre is as old as Nashville itself. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t there and that’s good news for all of us who enjoy a good film in a stunning Art Deco setting—I know I do. The building has been through many iterations and even survived the wrecking ball, thanks in part to this lady, the silent siren of the movie screen. She’s quick to laugh, quick to be serious, and quick to get the job done. She’s a fiery redhead with a vision that cannot be extinguished, and that, once again, is good news for all of us.
by Paul Polycarpou | Photography by Eric Brown
Nashville Arts Magazine (NAM): Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Stephanie Silverman (SS): I feel like I say “It’s all good” a lot.
NAM: What is your greatest fear?
SS: Screwing something up . . . really blowing it on something.
NAM: Which living person do you most admire?
SS: I really love Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
NAM: A person you want to have coffee with?
SS: I have always been fascinated with Anjelica Huston. I imagine she has amazing stories.
NAM: What do you sing when you’re alone in your car?
SS: I love Patty Griffin.
NAM: What are some things that you can’t leave the house without?
SS: My husband makes me a great cappuccino every morning, has a heart on it.
NAM: If you weren’t living in Nashville where would you be?
SS: I like the good arts-funded cities, Minneapolis, Seattle. I lived in Chicago for many years; I love it there.
NAM: What other profession would you have considered?
SS: I’m a real geek over radio at the moment, so something on public radio probably.
NAM: If you could go back and find the 12-year-old you, what would you tell her?
SS: I would tell her not to be afraid to ask for what she wants or needs. I would also tell her that all the successes and failures are all critical, and it’s not the end of the world.
NAM: Are you a night owl or morning person?
SS: Definitely not a morning person. I can barely get out the door.
NAM: What characteristic do you most like about yourself?
SS: I’m sure it can be annoying to people around me, but my positivity. I tend to look on the bright side.
NAM: What would you like to change?
SS: I would love to be more disciplined about exercising. I can be easily distracted by the next shiny thing. I’d like to be more focused.
NAM: What was the last book you read?
SS: When I finally sat down and read The Goldfinch, I was amazed. Talk about cinematic!
NAM: What about you would most surprise people?
SS: That my first job was selling tip sheets at a racetrack. I learned how to count money from old gamblers.
NAM: Who has most inspired you along the way?
SS: Early on I worked for a woman, Amy Lamphere, who taught me the core of being an arts administrator.
NAM: Who is your favorite artist?
SS: Terry Rosenberg. Beautiful work based on dancers.
NAM: Why Nashville?
SS: I moved here because my husband was here. He could be a musician in Nashville and still raise a family here.
NAM: What are you most proud of?
SS: Making a path for myself that allowed me to live a life in the arts on my terms.
NAM: Are you happy with where you’re heading?
SS: We’re in a great place, at work and at home. There are big things to tackle, but they are achievable.
NAM: What is something that you do really well?
SS: I take in information and process it pretty well. I’m good at settling in with ideas.
NAM: How do you feel about Nashville’s explosive growth?
SS: You can see where the strengths are and where the weaknesses are. We’re feeling the pressure in neighborhoods. We’ve got big infrastructure issues to deal with. It needs to be a thoughtful evolution.
NAM: What talent would you most like to have?
SS: I’d love to be a cabaret singer, really work The Great American Songbook.
NAM: What is your most treasured possession?
SS: My husband [Tracy Silverman] has a lot of instruments. One of the instruments is a viola that was my mom’s. It was incredibly precious to her, and it is to me.
NAM: Any regrets?
SS: I live a long way away from family. I’d like to be closer to them.
NAM: What do you want to be remembered for?
SS: For adding meaningfully to the cultural life of Nashville.
NAM: When and where are you the happiest?
SS: I really love this theatre, and coming to work here is pretty special.
NAM: What is your greatest extravagance?
SS: Groceries. Buying good food is important to me.
NAM: What film have you seen recently?
SS: I really loved the Turkish film Winter’s Sleep. It was long, contemplative, but it really stuck with me.
For more about the Belcourt Theatre visit www.belcourt.org