Currently celebrating sixty-six years, Pioneer Playhouse is Kentucky’s oldest
outdoor theatre, a state historic landmark, school of drama and major tourist
attraction in Central Kentucky. It is one of a handful of very rare summerstock
theatres in America, producing four comedies and one original “Kentucky history”
play, over a ten week period, every summer.
Theatre grounds include two Kentucky history displays, outdoor and indoor theatre,
dining area, rehearsal hall, actors dorms and courtyard. Amazingly, the theatre is
built from 90% recycled materials that span over two centuries of local history and
Founded in 1950 by Col. Eben C. Henson, Pioneer Playhouse serves roughly 10,000
visitors per summer, bringing an estimated one-million tourism dollars into the
region, every year. It has trained over 3,000 actors, interns and students in all
phases of stage craft, while serving as a leading cultural arts and civic gathering
place, for over six decades.
From Mike Perros, Emeritus member and current Mayor of Danville,
I choose to serve on the board because Pioneer Playhouse is a cultural and financial asset to the the region and state, and is too valuable to lose. There is no theatre in the world that presents such a high quality experience in a setting that is crafted out of stories themselves.
Attendance has shown an increase over the past decade with an emphasis on commissioning original works about local history. We produced a "Top Ten Summer Festival" (KY Tourism Council designation) to celebrate the filming of "Raintree County" in Danville, fifty years ago and a documentary was made which continues to air on Turner Classic Movies. "The Infamous Ephraim" celebrates Danville's pioneering surgeon Dr. Ephraim McDowell, a world-renowned physician, for whom Danville's major regional medical center is named. Discussions are in the works to take The Infamous Ephraim into the Kentucky school system, bringing wider recognition to the Bluegrass region and its contributions to the world.
Our current efforts are directed towards increasing box office, grant writing, and reaching into community for donations, sponsorships and bequests.
However, funding for a theatre that is as old as Pioneer Playhouse is a challenge. Built out of recycled materials in the early 1950's, Pioneer Playhouse is in dire need of a renovation, to bring it up to 21st Century standards. Our greatest challenge is to overhaul the theatre and also to create the means to cover an annual shortfall of $10,000 to $30,000.
The Playhouse Board of Directors, Playhouse staff and myself are committed to all of the above, offering our full support, as we preserve the past and inspire future generations. Your help is greatly needed and we invite you to join our efforts, in preserving the best of Kentucky's roots and wings.
Robby Henson received his MFA in film from New York University and directed his first production at Pioneer Playhouse in 1983. His award-winning documentaries have shown at the Sundance Film Festival, the Guggenheim Museum and on PBS. He wrote, produced and directed Pharaoh’s Army, a Civil War drama starring Chris Cooper, Kris Kristofferson and Patricia Clarkson.
Recent work includes writing and directing the The Badge, an award-winning New Orleans crime drama starring Billy Bob Thornton, Patricia Arquette, Sela Ward and Thomas Hayden Church.
His thriller The Visitation, based on the bestselling novel by Frank Peretti and starring Randy Travis, Kelly Lynch and Edward Furlong, was released by 20th Century Fox in 2005. His current project House, with Michael Madsen, was filmed in Poland and will be released by Lionsgate Films this fall.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 Blue Grass Community Foundation
499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507