Performing Arts/Theater

You’ll find a rich tapestry of music and the performing arts running throughout the hills and towns of The Kentucky Wildlands. Whether a performance at a beautifully restored historic downtown theatre, a long-running Broadway show in a mountain amphitheater, a play at a local arts center celebrating Appalachian heritage or a legendary live musical concert, the one-of-a-kind performing arts centers and theatres of The Kentucky Wildlands offer a variety of rich, exciting cultural experiences.

Take in the stunning architectural details and vintage décor of several meticulously restored theatres scattered throughout The Kentucky Wildlands, such as the cherished Paramount Arts Center and Theatre (est. 1931) in the heart of downtown Ashland. Plan to catch one of their live performances featuring major recording artists from every music genre, top stand-up comics and Broadway musicals. Enjoy a historical drama, first-rate Broadway show or holiday production from deep within the forests of Jenny Wiley State Resort Park at the outdoor Jenny Wiley Amphitheater in Prestonsburg, one of the longest running outdoor theatres in the country.

Celebrate a variety of traditional indigenous cultures at many local and community arts centers throughout The Kentucky Wildlands, such as the Appalachian Center for the Arts in historic Pikeville featuring celebrity spoken word performances, local playhouse productions and traditional dance reviews. And experience one of the regular live concert performances at the “Kentucky Country Music Capital” Renfro Valley Performing Theatres, showcasing the best in Kentucky bluegrass, country music legends and up and comers, as well as family-friendly comics. Many local community centers, cafes and colleges also offer live music performances throughout the year, including Campbell’s Branch Community Center in Hallie and the Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes.

A number of towns in The Kentucky Wildlands have active community theaters, such as Appalshop’s Roadside Theater, a professional ensemble of trained storytellers based in the Appalachian coalfields of Whitesburg that celebrates the region’s unique traditions, culture and story through original contemporary performance art. And if you love dance, you can even get in on the action yourself at the Carcassonne Square Dance in the Carcasonne Community Center, the oldest and longest-running square dance in the state.

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