In the weeks and months to come, there will be a variety of movies and programming at the historic Ashland Theater. The Town of Ashland now owns the theater, as a result of it generously being donated by Jean and A.D. Whittaker, and plans are afoot to restore this beautiful theater. While those plans are taking shape, a local group of volunteers are running the theater and helping create some energy and support for this important project.



Virginia in Film! Join us for a night with actor Paul Wilson and a screening of Big Stone Gap

11899916_881433695281338_7664899615119208830_nIn a small town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, self-proclaimed spinster Ave Maria Mulligan finds her life shaken up and forever changed after learning a long-buried family secret…

Ashley Judd , Patrick Wilson and Whoopie Goldberg star in a heartwarming tale about small-town life, self-discovery and the triumph of love. Based on Adriana Trigiani’s best-selling novel.

Trigiani wrote and directed the film adaptation of her debut novel Big Stone Gap, produced by the Academy Award winning producer Donna Gigliotti  and shot entirely on location in her hometown, Big Stone Gap. Big Stone Gap opened the Virginia Film Festival on November 6th, 2014.

This special fundraiser for The Ashland Theater will include a question and answer session with Paul Wilson, who plays Lyle Makin in the film.

Born in Richmond, Virginia, Paul made his professional stage debut at nine years old as the lead in Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera Amahl and the Night Visitors. He studied Shakespeare and acting in London and later at Florida State University, and at the University of South Florida where he graduated with superior academic achievement from the College of Fine Arts. He spent two seasons acting with the famed regional Equity (AEA) theatre group, American Stage in their Shakespeare in the Park performances of Much Ado About Nothing and The Merry Wives of Windsor. He made his first feature film appearance in Citizen Verdict (2003) starring Armand Assante, Roy Scheider and Jerry Springer. Paul served as producer on his first documentary movie Inside the Handy Writer’s Colony, which subsequently aired on PBS. Wilson was a founding member of the Sunscreen Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida and president and CEO of Wilson Media, an advertising agency he founded in 2000. He’s written and directed hundreds of television commercials and arranged jingles and music, performing with his brothers on stage in their band, The Wilson Van, which has raised more than $100,000 for Tampa Bay charities in only first five concerts. Paul is a 20-year featured vocalist with the Mostly Pops Orchestra. Brother of actor Patrick Wilson, Paul and Patrick spent summers in Big Stone Gap, Virginia where his father John was born and raised.



Posters to benefit the Ashland Theater

12919926_1155288681156981_6660352584731759548_nMany thanks to Duane Berger for allowing us to use his photograph to benefit the Ashland Theater!    By purchasing this poster you are giving a gift to the historic Ashland Theater.   Posters are available for purchase in the lobby at all of our events – Cost: $15.  You can order a poster – simply email cotutheater@gmail.com.

Memorial Day Weekend Movie Event! A Farewell to Arms

We are in the midst of the centennial remembrance of  World War I, so it’s only appropriate that we remember this Memorial Day with a classic movie set during this time. Known as The Great War, WWI was one of the deadliest conflicts in history and forever changed how we think politically, socially, and morally.

A Farewell to Arms is a 1932 American Pre-Code romance drama film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Helen Hayes, Gary Cooper, and Adolphe Menjou. Bmovieposterased on the 1929 semi-autobiographical novel A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, with a screenplay by Oliver H.P. Garrett and Benjamin Glazer, the film is about a romantic love affair between an American ambulance driver and an English nurse in Italy during World War I. The film received Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Sound, and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Art Direction.

As a thank you to those who have served, all veterans get $1.00 off the purchase of a large popcorn!

Donations Appreciated for the Ashland Theater!

The photo in this poster was created by professional photographer Duane Berger.  He has graciously allowed the Ashland Theater committee to use it for fundraising.   The poster is available for a donation of $15 or more!  Click HERE to make a donation on-line and email cotutheater@gmail.com to arrange for pickup.  Posters are also available for purchase in the lobby during our events. Check our schedule often – we have performances until September 2016.  Thank you for supporting the historic Ashland Theater!
ashland theater poster

Art Deco Society of Virginia Donates over $6K to the Ashland Theater

PRESS RELEASE April 4, 2016

Ashland, VA— As this year’s benefactor of the annual Jazz Age Preservation Ball, the Ashland Theater Foundation is proud to announce the donation of $6,270 from the Art Deco Society of Virginia.  In the photo below, Olivia Lloyd , president of the Art Deco Society of Richmond received an Ashland Theatre poster as a thank you for this generous donation.

Art Deco Society President Olivia Lloyd donates over $6K to the Ashland Theater

Ashland Theater Foundation Board Member Jen Chambers released this statement on behalf of the Foundation:  “This is a tremendous gift and we are so grateful to the Art Deco Society of Virginia for its support. Members of the Art Deco Society play a tremendous role throughout the Commonwealth in supporting preservation projects, and being their beneficiary this year just reinforces how important the Ashland Theater is to the region and the Art Deco movement. These funds will go directly to help with our restoration efforts.”

Each January, the Art Deco Society of Virginia hosts its annual Jazz Age Preservation Ball. This Roaring ’20s gala is designed to raise awareness and funds for Art Deco preservation projects in the Commonwealth. This year, the Ashland Theater, one of the most iconic structures in the Richmond metropolitan area, was named the Ball’s benefactor.

The Ball featured live music by Halley’s Hot Gumbo Swingtet, Charleston dance lessons, 50/50 raffle, a silent and live auction, and dancing. All proceeds from the Ball were donated to the Theater, including those from a replica Christmas ornament of the Theater which was raffled off as part of the live auction. Crafted by local Ashland artists Alvaro and Caroline Coronado, the original ornament hung on the Governor’s Christmas tree for the holiday season at the Executive Mansion.



Photo Above:  Ashland turnout at the Jazz Preservation Ball held on January 30, 2016.  Photo provided by Lynn Redmile www.LynnRedmile.com

Donated to the Town of Ashland by A.D. and Jean Whittaker in 2013, the Ashland Theater largely sat vacant for the past couple of decades, and in 2012, Preservation Virginia named the Ashland Theater one of the most endangered historic sites in the state.  Since being donated to the Town of Ashland, a group of local residents have formed a community foundation in support of the Theater, and have held over 100 events with over 17,000 attendees. To find out more about the Theater, and to donate to the Foundation and see the upcoming Theater schedule, please visit http://ashlandtheatreva.org.