PIONEER SCHOOL OF DRAMA PIONEER PLAYHOUSE
Rating: 4 stars 1 review
Issues: Arts & Culture
Location: 840 Stanford Rd Danville KY 40422 USA
To be a leading regional arts complex, school of drama and outdoor theatre, dedicated to fostering creativity and self expression in actor, audience and student alike, in order to expand the mind, awaken the heart and kindle the human spirit.
Programs: Behind the Scenes: an innovative education program that allow area high school students to take educational workshops and tours of our professional theater. Supported by the Bluegrass Community Foundation.
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I am a playwright and an advocate for Kentucky playwrights. I have been involved in theatre in some way, as an actor, director, producer, stage, manager, props, etc. for 48 years. My first trip to Danville and Pioneer Playhouse was back in the late 1960s. Most recently, I attended two shows this past, 2014 summer season. The quality of the shows is always high. The acting almost always superb. Yet, what I go for is to see the production of new plays by Kentucky playwrights. Those I always enjoy.
Since Kentucky Repertory Theatre closed a couple of years ago venues for Kentucky playwrights have constricted. There are still new plays being produced. But Pioneer Playhouse's Kentucky Voices series is important. It is not that other venues don't do a good job (they almost always do), but that they do not have the visibility of Pioneer Playhouse.
Pioneer Playhouse nearly always sells out every night of its shows. Over the years I have been to shows virtually every night that they have been producing. Sometimes a Wednesday or Thursday or Sunday as well as (for me) the better nights of Friday and Saturday. I don't recall being to a show on a weekend that didn't exceed 85% full; earlier in the week shows seem to always exceed 70%. That is remarkable for an outdoor theatre.
They have moved into other projects-- at the nearby prison and providing programs for grade school and high school students as well.
But what brings me back year in and year out is the new plays by Kentucky playwrights. And those they get right: time after time.