Most start-ups struggle to thrive. But here’s how one small theater company turned obstacles into a rousing success.


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Building Six at The Factory at Franklin

About The Book

A dilapidated boiler room filled with debris and four theater friends looking for a home for their newly created theater company. What could go wrong? Better still, what could go right?


The heartwarming story of Nashville’s “scrappy little theater that could,” 120 Seats in a Boiler Room: The Creation of a Courageous Professional Theater, retells the tumultuous journey of the award-winning Boiler Room Theatre from conception to closure. This hybrid memoir journeys with readers, show by show, through the company’s first five burgeoning years as well as offering valuable “Hot Tips” for new and seasoned theater owners and managers alike to boost their expertise. BRT’s boldest undertakings are retold with a renewed spirit by seven-time award-winning author and co-founder Lewis Kempfer. Readers also enjoy unique perspectives from a wide assortment of guest authors who enrich the company’s history with their own accounts, spotlighting the local treasure the Boiler Room Theatre evolved to be. An inspiring reflection on hardship, determination, and triumph, 120 Seats in a Boiler Room provides a vibrant portrait of how four visionary co-founders transformed a decades-old boiler room at The Factory at Franklin in Tennessee into a beloved, theatrical beacon.


This all-in-one entertainment archive, delightful how-to guide, and intriguing memoir spans the history of the Boiler Room Theatre from birth to final curtain call.

About The Author

Lewis Kempfer is an award-winning author and performing arts jack of all trades from Denver, Colorado. After completing his studies in print journalism at Arizona State University, he earned a development record deal to be a country recording artist and relocated to Nashville immediately. He co-founded the Boiler Room Theatre in 2000, where his design work eventually landed him a dream job with the Walt Disney Company in Los Angeles. His 2019 literary debut of Don't Mind Me, I'm Just Having a Bad Life: A Memoir earned seven awards, including First Place for LGBTQ Biographies in the 2022 BookFest Awards; the 2021 Independent Author Network Book of the Year Award for LGBTQ; and the 2021 Indie Reader Discovery Category Award for LGBTQ Non-Fiction. After three roller-coaster decades of fulfilling his dreams, Lewis returned to Denver, where he and his best canine mate, Marty McPug, make a dynamic duo.

Lewis Kempfer


120 Seats in a Boiler Room

The Creation of a Courageous Professional Theater

Available in Paperback and eBook

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