The Future of the Russell Theatre
Photo courtesy of Amanda Hankinson, Juney B. Designs
The stated mission of The Russell Theatre Corporation is to restore the rare, historic Russell Theatre - one of the few remaining atmospheric theatres in the United States - to its original splendor serving as a screen arts, performing and educational center for Maysville, Kentucky and the surrounding region.
The Russell Theatre Restoration Efforts:
In 1995 Sandra Marshall corralled a group of concerned citizens when news spread of the possible condemnation, and possible demolition, of the theatre building. Within 40 days, $41,000 was raised from the community to purchase the building. Most of these donations were small, having been collected in jars at check out counters around town. It was truly a grass roots effort.
This group of citizens formed The Russell Theatre Corporation with the goal of stabilizing and restoring the theatre. After receiving monetary help from the City of Maysville, fundraisers and a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant, the group replaced the roof, installed new doors for security, removed asbestos and restored the marquee. Other projects were concluded at this time such as a feasibility study for the theatre and a website.
The corporation decided to take a large step and hire an outside fundraising company. A feasibility study was completed for the possible future capital campaign with over 90 citizens agreeing to be interviewed. As the study was completed it was determined that the interest was great in restoring The Russell and so plans began to implement a capital campaign, but unfortunately in 2008 we saw a decline in our economy and stock market prices plunged. The campaign was suspended.
Around this same time, however, Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher line itemed in his budget $250,000 for The Russell Theatre Corporation. CMW Architect of Lexington was then hired to proceed with the architectural drawings. Construction began in May 2008 with completion in October 2008. This renovation included restoration of the lobby, handicapped restrooms, a gift shop, and a storage room.
The Russell Theatre was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in September of 2004.
Future Plans for the Russell
What will we do with the theatre after restoration?
The primary sales and marketing strategy will be to revive The Russell as a
movie and film venue, with emphasis on themed movie marathons, classics,
engaging with school teachers to enhance their subjects presently taught by
using the theatre screen, documentaries, art films and other movies not available
at mainstream cinemas.
When the restoration is completed, The Russell Theatre will serve as a new
downtown venue available for:
* Movie theatre
* Simulcast sports events/concerts
* Special interest events (motivational speakers, seminars, reunions, video
gaming, infomercial web casts, community bible study)
* Conferences (employee training and video conferencing)
* Education programs (student classroom presentations, theatre tours, exhibits)
* Tourism activities (virtual tour on screen of Maysville/Mason County as part of
walking tour or as alternative)
......ANYWAY THAT YOU CAN THINK TO USE A MOVIE SCREEN.