The Kentucky Center
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|Address||501 West Main Street
|Type||performing arts center|
|Capacity||Robert S. Whitney Hall: 2,406
Moritz von Bomhard Theatre: 619
Boyd Martin Theatre: 139
|Opened||November 19, 1983|
|Architect||Caudill Rowlett Scott|
|Broadway Across America, Kentucky Opera, Louisville Ballet, Louisville Orchestra, Stage One|
The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, located in Louisville and currently branded as The Kentucky Center, is a major performing arts center in Kentucky. Tenants include Broadway Across America, Kentucky Opera, Louisville Ballet and Louisville Orchestra.
The Center was dedicated on November 19, 1983. Attendees included Charlton Heston, Diane Sawyer and Lily Tomlin. In 1984 the center hosted one of the U.S. presidential election debates between Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale.
Other artists and celebrities to have used the Center's stages in the past include: Ray Charles, Jessye Norman, Tony Bennett, the Joffrey Ballet, Kathleen Battle, Jim Carrey, Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovich, Gregory Peck, James Taylor, President Bill Clinton, Elie Wiesel, Philip Glass, Marilyn Horne, Jerry Lewis, the Bolshoi Ballet, Wynton Marsalis, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Bill Cosby, President George W. Bush, Lily Tomlin, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Leontine Price, William F. Buckley, and Itzhak Perlman.
The Center has three performance spaces:
- Robert S. Whitney Hall, with 2,406 seats, is the largest and named after the founding conductor of the Louisville Orchestra, Robert S. Whitney.
- Moritz von Bomhard Theatre, with 619 seats, is named for the founder of the Kentucky Opera, Moritz von Bomhard. The Moritz von Bomhard Theatre features a M1D Meyer Sound system for sound reinforcement.
- Boyd Martin Theatre, with 139 seats, is also known as "The MeX," named for a film and theater critic who wrote for the Louisville Courier-Journal, Boyd Martin.
The Center also administers a separate facility:
- Brown Theatre, with 1,400 seats, is named for industrialist James Graham Brown, and is located eight blocks away on Broadway, between Third and Fourth Streets. The Brown was completed in 1925, and is modelled on the Music Box Theatre in New York City.
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Its stages are only a part of what the Center does throughout Kentucky. For example, the Center has an education department, with programs for children and adults that travel into all corners of Kentucky. Programs include:
- ArtsReach: ArtsReach collaborates with community centers in Louisville, Hopkinsville, Ashland, Mt. Sterling, Cadiz, Lexington, Owensboro, and Paducah to provide arts programs, with a strong emphasis on hands-on experiences.
- Governor's School for the Arts: Over 200 of Kentucky's most promising young artists come together for three weeks of interaction, training, and artistic exploration each summer.
- Gheens Great Expectations Project: This partnership with the Gheens Foundation and the Fund for the Arts presents young classical musicians in concert and in community residencies.
The Center also administers programs that assist and teach teachers in bringing the arts into the classroom, such as:
- Arts Academies: The Kentucky Center provides one-week Arts Academies for Kentucky's public school teachers at six sites across the Commonwealth each summer.
- Kentucky Institute for Arts in Education: This two-week professional development seminar involves teachers in creative writing, dance, drama, music, and visual arts.
- Arts Education Showcase: At a showcase held as part of the Kentucky Teaching and Learning Conference, educators and members of the public can see prescreened artists and performers whose arts education programs are available for students.
The Center also provides access services that make the theater experience possible for patrons with disabilities. The Center also provides consultancy services to many of the performing arts centers across Kentucky, including:
- Actors Theatre of Louisville (Jefferson County)
- Plaza Theatre (Barren County)
- Paramount Arts Center (Boyd County)
- Alhambra Theatre (Christian County)
- RiverPark Center (Daviess County)
- Hardin County Playhouse (Hardin County)
- Singletary Center for the Arts at the University of Kentucky (Fayette County)
- Four Rivers Arts Center (McCracken County)
- Capitol Arts Center (Warren County)
- Jenny Wiley Theatre (Floyd County)
- Lake Cumberland Center for the Arts (Pulaski County)
- List of attractions and events in the Louisville metropolitan area
- List of concert halls
- Performing arts in Louisville, Kentucky
- Theater in Kentucky