Sunday, September 4, 2011

Jenny Wiley Theater To Be Built In Pikeville

(Pikeville)  Jenny Wiley Drama Association, which governs Jenny Wiley Theatre, and the City of
Pikeville have signed an agreement that allows the theatre to expand its year round
offerings and bring professional theatre to downtown Pikeville.  A new, designated
indoor theatre space will be constructed beginning in 2012 to provide Jenny Wiley
Theatre with a permanent indoor theatre and to continue the expansion of cultural
arts offerings in the City of Pikeville.  The intent is to begin construction in
January 2012 on a new facility located beside the old Dawahare Department Store,
intersecting 2nd St., Hambley Blvd. and Division St., with a proposed completion
date of December 2012.

For Pikeville, the focus is on promoting regionalism with a major emphasis on
tourism says Donovan Blackburn, Pikeville City Manager and Chairman of the newly
created Convention and Tourism Commission.  With 200 million dollars in new projects
in the area, including the new judicial center, a new hotel in the city and the
creation of Café on Main Plaza, outside the East Kentucky Expo Center, the natural
progression is to promote the arts, and offer an economic opportunity for the entire
region.   “Regional participation is very important, and having a recognized
established theatre group like Jenny Wiley Theatre downtown, offers the opportunity
to bring someone downtown year round, rather than depend only on summer months to
visit all areas, it all works hand in hand with each other.  This is a project and
partnership we are really excited about, and is a great opportunity for JWT to offer
year round theatre.”

Jenny Wiley Theatre is thrilled to have the opportunity to develop a full offering
of year-round productions and performances for the region.  Jenny Wiley Theatre will
continue to offer summer musicals on the amphitheatre stage located within Jenny
Wiley State Resort Park,  as well as educational programming such as the Theatre on
Wheels Tour, in-school and afterschool workshops, and school matinees during the
year.  Beginning in 2013, the proposed 300-seat theatre will feature musicals,
comedies, children’s theatre and educational programing, as well as lunch/dinner
performances  throughout the fall, winter and spring.  The indoor facility will also
be available for area meetings and conferences.    The new facility will house a box
office, gift shop, rehearsal space, and the possibility of a café
Helen Wicker, President of Jenny Wiley Drama Association, says: “For several years
we have been working toward achieving our vision of being able to offer year-round
theatre.  The opportunity to partner with the City of Pikeville will now allow us to
achieve our mission.”   Executive Director Martin Childers added that this
opportunity to expand offerings and form new partnerships is unique in the current
economic climate when many theatres are having to reduce their scope of work and
even close their doors.  ”Jenny Wiley Theatre has been an important contributor to
the culture, tourism and economics of eastern Kentucky for almost fifty years.  We
want to ensure that we continue to adapt to the needs and circumstances so that we
are here for another fifty years.  The ability to produce shows all year long is an
important step in that direction,” said Childers. 

Jenny Wiley Theatre is a non-profit organization and receives funding from
individuals, corporations, Prestonsburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, Paintsville
Tourism, the Kentucky Arts Council, and the Kentucky Department of Travel.  The
Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, supports JWT with state tax dollars
and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.