New Kentucky Theatre management group banking on theater’s history to raise funds to reopen


The new management group behind the Kentucky Theatre hopes to reopen the historic venue soon, but they need more money.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – The new management group behind the Kentucky Theatre hopes to reopen the historic venue soon, but they need more money.

The Friends of the Kentucky Theatre group said they’re calling on the theater’s history in Lexington to help make up the difference.

When the Kentucky Theatre reopens, the people overseeing it hope to have around $100,000 on hand. Right now, they’re about halfway there. Not only for repairs but also in case business is a little slow when they start back up.

“People are excited to come back to the theater, there’s no doubt,” said Hayward Wilkirson, Friends of the Kentucky Theatre. “But, we do get a somewhat older clientele. Maybe a bit more nervous about coming back.”

Their latest fundraiser makes use of a collection that’s been building since the 1980s, and also clears out some storage space.

“It is a huge collection of posters. I would guess we have 700, 800 posters,” Wilkirson said.

They are keeping some of the significant posters, but others will go on sale later this month.

“We have everything from horses, because we are in Central Kentucky. We have comedy, films of local interest, indie films, we have horror and sci-fi over there,” Wilkirson said.

Those movie posters aren’t the only items they’re going to be selling. They’ve got other reminders of the theater’s history for people to purchase.

“And everybody in Lexington had these calendars they put on their refrigerators and it showed all the film listings for two months, there were clever descriptions. Well, we found a whole bunch of those, obviously we’re keeping some but we have a rare set. We have about 34 of those,” said Wilkirson.

They hope to show a few films for Christmas, but, like so many plans, COVID-19 might impact that.

“I mentioned our sound processors are out. We don’t know if it just needs to be repaired or replaced, they are not terribly expensive, but if we have to replace them because of the chip issues, it’s going to slow us down,” Wilkirson said.

But, they are expecting a big crowd on Nov. 20, so much so, they added an extra hour.

“It’s exciting and it’s really kind of emotional. I think it’s really going to be emotional for us to see so many people coming down here. And I think it’s gonna be crazy,” said Wilkirson.

The movie poster sale starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20, and runs until 2 p.m.

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