UT Theatre Department presents Capote's ‘A Christmas Memory’

The University of Tennessee Department of Theatre presents Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory,” read by Carol Mayo Jenkins, recorded on location at the Mabry Hazen House, and directed by John Sipes. The free, streaming recording is available NOW through Dec. 25. In conjunction with the reading, a “Full Belly Fund” virtual food drive has been set up with Second Harvest to provide food for the community.

Truman Garcia Capote was an American novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, playwright, and actor. Several of his short stories, novels, and plays have been praised as literary classics, including the novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and the true crime novel, “In Cold Blood.”

First published in 1956, “A Christmas Memory” is an autobiographical recollection of Capote’s rural Alabama boyhood. Seven-year-old Buddy inaugurates the Christmas season by crying out to his cousin: “It’s fruitcake weather!” Thus begins an unforgettable portrait of an enduring friendship between two innocent souls--one young and one old--and the memories they share of beloved holiday rituals.

Now a holiday classic, “A Christmas Memory” has been broadcast, recorded, filmed, and staged multiple times, in award-winning productions.

“I saw a televised adaptation of “A Christmas Memory,” narrated by Truman Capote, many years ago. The story struck an emotional chord in me that has resonated ever since,” said director John Sipes.

Born and raised in Knoxville, Carol Mayo Jenkins attended Salem Academy and Vanderbilt. She trained for the theatre in London, spent four years with the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and made her Broadway debut as Natasha in William Ball’s production of “The Three Sisters.”

The story was recorded on location at The Mabry-Hazen House, which is a historic home located on an 8-acre site at 1711 Dandridge Avenue in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the crest of Mabry’s Hill.