Kentucky Theatre Seeking Donations for Repairs, Digital Switch

Sep 12, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - It’s been twenty years since the community rallied to save Lexington’s Kentucky Theatre. Now a group of volunteers say it’s time for another round of renovations.

Paint is starting to chip at the old movie house. The marquee sign has cracked panels. The carpet has seen too many soda and popcorn spills. And the seats are so worn, some patrons bring their own pillow to sit on.

A group called Friends of the Kentucky Theatre is working to raise money for improvements. Co-chair and former vice mayor Isabel Yates says the goal is to bring in $1.5 million.

“This is a treasure and it belongs to everybody in this community.”

Opened in October 1922, the Kentucky Theatre is owned by the city of Lexington and leased to a private company.

The biggest issue facing the theatre is Hollywood’s ongoing shift away from 35 mm film to digital production of movies. A new projector is needed to keep up with technology.

“We’re thinking that probably sometime in 2013 that we’re going to get a call from a film company and they’re going to say ‘as of such-and-such date, we’re not going to make film anymore,’” says theatre manager Fred Mills.

The fundraising group is working with the non-profit Bluegrass Community Foundation to track donations and expenditures. A formal campaign launch is set for next month.