Bill Synder and Kim Barber Knoll

University alumni raise funds for theatre naming

MARTIN, Tenn. – Alumni, faculty and staff from the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Department of Visual and Theatre Arts have started a fundraising effort to rename the university’s Vanguard Little Theatre after the late Bill Snyder, professor emeritus of theatre.

Snyder, longtime director of the UT Martin Vanguard Theatre, died in March 2008. He retired from UT Martin in 1996 after 32 years of teaching and is estimated to have directed more than 150 productions during his time at UT Martin. He was named a University of Tennessee National Alumni Association Distinguished Professor in 1990.

In addition to his work at UT Martin, Snyder was also a New York actor, playwright, producer and director. One of his plays, “The Days and Nights of BeeBee Fenstermaker,” ran for 304 performances Off-Broadway at the Sheridan Square Playhouse in New York City.

“I personally credit Bill with much of what I have achieved as an artist, or frankly as a human being in my life and my career. I’ve missed him every day since his retirement,” said Doug Cook, chair of the Department of Visual and Theatre Arts. “The Vanguard Little Theatre is our newer, smaller theatre space. It’s a space designed with Bill in mind. He was always fond of intimate theatre spaces, and I think our Little Theatre venue would have pleased him greatly.”

Supporters have established a goal to raise $100,000 to finance the renaming in honor of Snyder’s legacy. Those wishing to support this effort can do so online at or by contacting the UT Martin Division of University Advancement at 731-881-7620.


PHOTO ID: Bill Snyder (left), professor emeritus of theatre, is shown speaking to Kim Barber Knoll during a Vanguard Theatre production of Woody Allen’s “Don’t Drink The Water.” Knoll, an alumna from Gleason, is now coordinator of theatre at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia.