WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation signed a three-and-a-half year lease with the College of William & Mary to operate the Kimball Theatre in Merchants Square.
The agreement will provide a venue for William & Mary instruction and programming during the renovation of the Phi Beta Kappa Hall main stage theatre and will keep the Kimball open during this period.
In late June, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation announced plans to close the Kimball Theatre. The Foundation said the Kimball Theatre has not been profitable since at least 1999 and lost $782,000 in the past year alone.
“We’re very pleased that a key local partner and friend, the city’s oldest institution –William & Mary – has stepped forward to operate this important cultural institution,” Reiss added. “It is a win for our two organizations, students of the college and all those in the community who hoped we could find a way to save the Kimball, and I look forward to returning for events in the years to come.”
William & Mary’s primary use of the theatre will be for theatre classes and performances, as well as performances by other university groups. When it’s not being used by William & Mary, the university will make the theatre available for community use.
“This space provides us interim instructional and performance space while PBK renovations are underway,” said Jones, adding the university’s intent is not to determine or limit the long-term use of the Kimball Theatre. “The lease period provides time for the community to develop a long-term plan for the theatre’s viability.”
The agreement runs through January 2021 and has options for annual renewals.