• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Woodford Theatre planning to reopen this summer, First main-stage production set for December


ALEX MADDOX, with a background in both business and the arts, has been hired as interim executive director of the Woodford Theatre. He has been its business director since September 2019, and said he’s looking forward to inviting the community back into Woodford Theatre. (Photo by Bob Vlach)
ALEX MADDOX, with a background in both business and the arts, has been hired as interim executive director of the Woodford Theatre. He has been its business director since September 2019, and said he’s looking forward to inviting the community back into Woodford Theatre. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

Nothing is certain given the uncertainties of COVID-19. But under the

leadership of new interim Executive Director Alex Maddox, Woodford

Theatre is making plans to reopen this summer and produce a main-stage

show in December, he said.

“I had to figure out a way to get this theater back up on its feet,”

said Maddox. “I sort of felt an obligation to step up and do what I

could to make sure this theater survived this shutdown and got back on

its feet for the community ...

“It’s so important to have a community theater – especially, I think, in

this community … I’ve seen firsthand since coming here (as business

director) in September 2019 how much this community values this theater …”

Woodford Theatre cancelled its production of “Children of a Lesser God”

in March 2020 because of the pandemic, and its stage lights have

remained dark with no live performances – or a 2020-21 season.

With his onstage experience as an actor, Maddox said virtual

performances are just not the same for the audience or the performers.

“It’s a live performance art. That’s what sets us apart from Netflix or

film or TV,” said Maddox. “A humongous part of theater is the energy and

interaction with a live audience, between performer and audience member.”

Maddox said he has been working alongside Woodford Theatre’s board of

directors on a timeline to safely reopen.

His other priority has been getting the Woodford Theatre Young Artists

program, which has been very popular in the community and also

recognized nationally, “back on its feet” and going again this summer,

Maddox said. Simultaneously, he’s working on selecting shows for this

main-stage season and also securing sponsors for the productions as well

as reaching out to actors and directors for a season that will feature

four full-length productions, he said.

“It’s no secret that our main sources of revenue are ticket sales and

sponsorships for these shows as well as, honestly, tuition for our

education programming … Not having those this past year, it’s no secret,

it’s had an impact financially,” said Maddox. “So I’d say it’s pretty

important to look toward getting our main-stage productions back as soon

as we can; all while of course following CDC guidelines and making sure

that we can do so safely.”

If 2.5 million Kentuckians get vaccinated, state restrictions on

capacity limits could be lifted for venues with less than 1,000 seats,

Mattox noted. He said that could allow Woodford Theatre to open its

season at full capacity (300 seats).

Efforts are also ongoing to partner with the City of Versailles on a

variety of opportunities and special events involving its young artists,

Mattox and board Chair Danielle Bozarth said. They would also like to

explore opportunities for students in the public schools to use Woodford

Theatre’s performance space when possible.

“That’s my big goal, is to just rally the community behind the theater,”

said Maddox.

He’s also working to hire staff.

Dawn Connerley, who’s known for her set construction, will return as

technical director, he and Bozarth said. They said a fulltime

marketing/development director and box office person will also be hired.

The scaled-down staff is being reduced from six to four, said Maddox. He

was the only staff member not furloughed when Woodford Theatre took an

“intermission” in December 2020.

As interim executive director, Maddox said he will handle the

responsibilities of former artistic director Vanessa Becker Weig, while

continuing his responsibilities as business director. His one-year

contract in this dual role allows the Woodford Theatre board to assess

its situation going forward, he said.

Depending on Maddox’s workload in this dual role, Bozarth said a new

artistic director could be hired in June 2022.

“I think we took the right steps when the pandemic happened to be able …

to reopen and to be able to stay open,” she said. “… I think we’re in a

really good place.”

People, she added, are “ready to come back to the theater.”

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