The name Hattiloo is a combination of founder, Ekundayo Bandele's, two daughters' nicknames: Hatshepsut Bandele (Hatti) and Oluremi Bandele (Loo.)
As Ekundayo developed the identity of Memphis' new Black repertory in November 2005, he knew that the name would personify his vision for a community theatre. He considered naming it after several Black playwrights who had made great contributions to America's literary canon: The August Wilson Theatre; The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Then one day, after calling his daughters to him, Ekundayo heard the fluid resonance of the combined names - Hattiloo. With a long history in the arts, he believes that the artistic principle is feminine. And with the theatre's Southern roots, he felt that the name Hattiloo would call to mind the Academy Award winning actress Hattie McDaniel, and would honor the theatre's place of origin.