William & Mary signs agreement to lease and operate Kimball Theatre
The College of William & Mary will lease and operate the historic Kimball Theatre while its own theater is renovated.
The Kimball Theatre had been slated to close July 6 under a financial restructuring the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation announced last month.
The 3.5-year agreement with William & Marty, which runs through January 2021 and has options for annual renewals, will provide a venue for William & Mary instruction and programming during the upcoming renovation of the Phi Beta Kappa Hall mainstage theater.
The college does not intend to use the Kimball theater long-term.
“The lease period provides time for the community to develop a long-term plan for the theatre’s viability,” Sam Jones, senior vice president for finance and administration of William & Mary, said in a statement.
The Kimball Theatre was built in 1933 by John D. Rockefeller Jr. The venue, which offers independent films and some live entertainment, has not made money since 1999 and lost $782,000 last year, according to the foundation.
The theatre’s closure was part of a wide-scale restructuring announced last month. The foundation said that during the past decade it had withdrawn $640 million from its endowment fund, which now stands at $684 million. The plans included outsourcing some of its operations and laying off 71 employees.
William & Mary’s primary use of the Kimball Theatre will be for theater instruction and performances as well as performances by other university groups, Jones said. When not in use by William & Mary, the university will make the theater available for community use.
William & Mary’s multiphase Arts Quarter project is scheduled to take PBK Hall offline for renovations beginning next year. Planning for the renovation is underway and construction is scheduled to begin next summer.
While not in use by academic departments, William & Mary’s Conference and Event Services will manage the theater’s scheduling, similar to the current arrangement for the Lake Matoaka Amphitheatre.