KIMBALL THEATRE FUTURE
This week, our community was dealt a significant blow with the announcement that Colonial Williamsburg will close the historic Kimball Theatre. Many organizations count on this facility not just to showcase their skills and talent, but to host fundraisers that sustain their organizations.
Since the announcement, many locals have been reminiscing about the great times they've had, sharing childhood memories, remembering their favorite shows and movies, all coming to the same conclusion that our community can not lose this valuable asset.
The Kimball has been at the core of our community for over 80 years and as Williamsburg continues to fight to attract visitors to our destination, closing this theatre and losing a treasured amenity will only set us back further.
Colonial Williamsburg is a world-class museum that puts our area on the map, but it can not sustain our tourism base alone. We need to enhance our amenities and continue to increase the amount of culturally-diverse events offered. That requires access to facilities, like the Kimball Theatre, which makes it imperative that we commit to seeing it re-open.
CultureFix, lead by Steve Rose and Jennifer Raines, has an experienced team capable of giving the Kimball Theatre a new life. On Thursday, our Board met and unanimously decided that, based on the core function of the Kimball being perfectly aligned with our organization's mission, we would pursue future direction of the theatre. Established as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, the mission of CultureFix is “to promote and enhance the cultural energy and vitality of our community by creating experiences and educational opportunities that encourage visitation and enrich the lives of those who live here.”
Currently, under the CultureFix umbrella are popular events such as the Winter Blues Jazz Fest, 2nd Sundays Art & Music Festivals, the Big Bluesy, ChowderFest, quarterly musical tribute shows at the Kimball Theatre, and the Kickoff pARTy in conjunction with An Occasion for the Arts.
We were pleased to see a statement in today’s Virginia Gazette that quoted Colonial Williamsburg’s President Mitchell Reiss as saying, “I very much hope that somebody will come forward to lease it and continue to run it as a theater”. With his knowledge of the very challenging numbers that not only the Kimball, but hundreds of community theatres all across the country, have to deal with, we hope that he and the Foundation are sincere and will be realistic when it comes to negotiating for the future of the theatre.
A very quick internet search for ‘community theatres’ results in an overwhelming list of similarities about the sustainability challenges of these venues. All reputable sources agree that it is only possible through community and municipality support, grant funding, corporate sponsorships, and strong fiscal management. Therefore, we believe that whomever has the honor to operate the Kimball into the future should be a non-profit whose mission is to promote live music, theater, and thought-provoking films and has the goal of enhancing the vitality of our community, not just an entity that has a perceived monetary gain at the expense of our cultural health. It is imperative that the future of the Kimball includes a home to our world-class Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra and Opera in Williamsburg.
Our community needs to rally together in support of this historic treasure. A decision needs to be made quickly, as many of our cultural organizations scramble to sustain their programs. CultureFix has the ability to expedite a seamless transition, thereby minimizing stress and uncertainty.
We ask our many loyal supporters and community citizens to join us now. Please be vocal, post on social media, and share your support for the Kimball by encouraging Colonial Williamsburg to work swiftly to minimize the damage. Email us at and let us know how you are willing to help…or stop by to see us at 2nd Sundays on July 9th.
If we are successful with our negotiations, we will follow up with a campaign to ensure the future of the theatre.
Many in the community are shocked, saddened, and left wondering how this could be possible. We prefer to look at it positively as the potential beginning of a new era for our beloved Kimball.
Let’s get to work and create a fresh beginning.
Steve Rose, President
More about our team:
Steve Rose has over 20 years of event expertise garnered from his business, Williamsburg Event Rentals. His unwavering commitment to the Williamsburg community and hard-working leadership have .…
Jennifer Raines has nearly 15 years experience in business, currently as owner of Quirks!, a popular retail store located just outside of Merchants Square. Her knowledge and grasp of social media and marketing is invaluable to our organization.
Shirley Vermillion is widely known for her creation of the 2nd Sundays Art & Music Festivals, which now operate under the CultureFix umbrella. She is affectionally known throughout the creative community as the ‘Godmother of Live Music’.
Tim Barnard, PHd. is a professor of Film Studies at the College of William and Mary. He was the curator of the William and Mary Global Film Festival for many years.
Todd Cooke has worked at the Kimball Theatre for the past 15 years, most recently as the Production Manager, and has an intimate working knowledge of the theatre, its patrons, and participating organizations.
Ryan Palmer has over 20 years in the event production industry, specializing in event logistics and the technical side of the entertainment business. He has helped create and supervise the installation of various holiday consumer events, such as Howl-o-scream and ChristmasTown.
Kaitlin Palmer is a classically-trained violinist and arts administrator with grant writing experience.
CultureFix Facebook Page
CultureFix will strive to improve Greater Williamsburg’s cultural offerings for residents and visitors, by enhancing arts infrastructure; developing and promoting the arts and culture industry; and by creating a wide array of arts and cultural events.
CultureFix is founded on the belief that "outside the box" thinking, calculated risk-taking, and relentless creative energy are the true foundation for a diverse cultural community.