Arts & Culture

Happy 100th, UK Theatre!


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2010) − From The Stollers' presentation of "Richelieu" in 1910 to this month's production of "Gorey Stories," theater has been an integral part of the University of Kentucky campus. This weekend UK Department of Theatre will celebrate its storied history with a birthday celebration scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 16. The festivities are being held in conjunction with the last four showings of "Gorey Stories," a Broadway show first staged at UK in the 1970s.

Theater came to UK in 1910 with a production by The Strollers of "Richelieu," an Edward Bulwer-Lytton play. From this initial theater troupe the art form continued to evolve on campus with its first academic association with the UK Department of English. In 1967, theater found its current home as the UK Department of Theatre was created in the College of Fine Arts.

Saturday's festivities will celebrate the history of theater on campus and bring back to campus many of the alumni of the program. The events will run from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and include roundtable discussions, departmental tours, a pre-show VIP party, "Gorey Stories," a post-show birthday party, a play reading of "Richelieu," and more at the UK Fine Arts Building. To participate in the birthday bash, tickets for the day's festivities are $25 and available through UK Theatre at (859) 257-3297.

UK Theatre is thrilled to commemorate this huge milestone in the university's theater history and the many accomplishments of its current students, faculty and staff, as well as its celebrated alumni. "Everyone who steps onto (or behind) the Guignol Stage feels a kinship and love for this cherished artistic community and institution," says Nancy Jones, chair of UK Theatre. "The Guignol Theatre created a community of theatre artists and theatre lovers that is enduring. We are lucky to be part of this rich heritage and to belong to the legacy of UK Theatre." 

In conjunction with the celebration, UK Theatre will be presenting the final four showings of "Gorey Stories" this weekend beginning this Thursday, Oct. 14. A work adapted for the stage by UK theatre alumnus Stephen Currens, "Gorey Stories" would make it all the way to Broadway's Booth Theatre in 1978, only a few years after its debut at UK.

"Gorey Stories" is a macabre assortment of tales, songs and limericks from the gothic writer-illustrator Edward Gorey, which was adapted for the stage by alumnus Stephen Currens.

"Watching 'Gorey Stories' is like seeing a Tim Burton film come to life before your eyes," adds Jones.

UK's production of "Gorey Stories" is being directed by Russell Henderson, associate professor of acting and voice, and Ryan Shirar, musical director. "Gorey Stories" haunts the Guignol stage 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14 - 16, and 2 p.m. Oct. 17.
Tickets for "Gorey Stories" are $15 for general admission and $10 for senior citizens or UK faculty/staff/students. Individuals wearing costumes to the play can take part in a buy one, get one free discount.

For more information on the 100th birthday celebration of UK Theatre or "Gorey Stories," contact the UK Department of Theatre at (859) 257-3297. To reserve tickets, call the Singletary Center for the Arts ticket office at (859) 257-4929 or visit online at