• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

New curtains will make debut

The Woodford Theatre will have new curtains during its 2016-17 season thanks to the generosity of Woodford Reserve Distillery on McCracken Pike. Such local support will play a vital role as Woodford Theatre begins making much-needed upgrades to its Falling Springs Arts and Recreation Center performance space, according to artistic director Trish Clark. "We think it's important to give back to where we live, we work and we raise our families," said Karen Krinock, community relations representative for Woodford Reserve's parent company, Brown Forman Corporation. ".We look at our communities, and we really feel it's important to support what the needs are." Krinock described the donation for new curtains as a lasting opportunity to enhance a cultural experience in Woodford County. Clark said Woodford Theatre could not purchase new $19,000 curtains with dollars generated from ticket sales because that revenue helps pay regular operating expenses, which have grown by over $200,000 since her arrival in 2013. "Any time you limit yourself and stay small, everything's going to stay small," said Clark of the nonprofit's business model to promote growth through its performance and educational opportunities. As Woodford Theatre builds its reputation as a quality space to experience live theater in Central Kentucky, a larger pool of actors from the region is helping to improve the quality of performances for audiences here, Clark said. Production equipment for those performances has become the most pressing need at the 16-year-old Woodford Theatre. A new lighting system and soundboard will both improve the production quality of shows, Clark said. She said the massive size of the theater's soundboard may look impressive, but "it's only huge because it's so old." A smaller new board could do "10 times as much," she added. Also, because of challenges related to using its own aging production equipment, Woodford Theatre had to borrow spotlights for last season's "Hairspray" and continues to use a light board borrowed from Southland Christian Church for its performances, Clark said. She said Woodford Theatre's seats remain in remarkably good shape, but some of its most-used seats do not fold up and down as they once did so they are being replaced when necessary. Once a feasibility study has been finished, Woodford Theatre will have a better handle on what has to happen next for the nonprofit to improve its facilities with support from philanthropists in the community, Clark said. A $20,000 donation from Woodford Reserve paid for Woodford Theatre's new curtains, with a $5,000 anonymous donation covering the cost of hanging the curtains, Clark said. "Theater brings people together. Our industry brings people together," said Krinock of Brown Forman. "And they have a really great service for the community there." She described Woodford Theater as "unique and special" after a recent visit there. Producing partners in the local business community have already stepped forward to support Woodford Theatre in areas outside of its capital campaign to make improvements to the theater space inside the Falling Springs Arts and Recreation Center.

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