CommunitySpotlight Series


Bringing The Grand Theatre back to life

Lancaster Grand Theatre
Posted at 8:34 AM, Jun 25, 2024

LANCASTER, Ky. (LEX 18) — A stroll down Lexington Street has long included an inevitable glance at The Grand Theatre.

A staple sight of Lancaster since 1925.

The theatre got Kent Keller excited when he moved to Lancaster from the west coast about a year ago.

"We looked on Google Maps and saw there was a theater right down the street," Keller said.

“I’ve got a background in rock n’ roll and theater. I really enjoy that, so having a theater close by was something I thought I could be involved in.”

However, in recent years, the landmark of the performing arts has sat quietly closed.

The pandemic forced the doors to shut until Keller's curiosity became the key to reopening them.

“I found out it was owned by First Southern National Bank. A few conversations and meetings later, they finally invited me out to lunch, and they said, ‘We know how you can get involved. We want you to be the director. We want you to manage it.’ I guess you get what you ask for, right? I said yes," Keller said.

Keller has slowly become the lead authority on the theatre, well versed in the ins and outs of this near-century-old building, giving it much-needed TLC.

“The lightbulbs were burnt out. It hadn’t had the maintenance that it needed during the time of its closure," Keller said.

"This building needs to breathe. It just needs some love."

Beyond renovating the space, Keller focuses on making the theatre a multi-purpose community space.

In a perfect world, it can play host to more than a music act or movie.

“The sky is really the limit," Keller said.

"Reaching out to various theatre groups. Let them have a meeting place. Dance schools, ballet workshops, and modern dance. They could potentially have medium-sized conventions coming, and the theatre can become the main event stage.”

Keller not only takes pride in the project of bringing The Grand Theatre back to life, but also what it means for connecting with the community.

Living in a place where he could be involved was important when his family was looking for a new home and The Grand has given him the perfect outlet to realize that desire.

The community is excited the theatre is coming back," Keller said.

"If I can do one thing in Lancaster, Kentucky, to inspire that kind of vision and that kind of passion. Then I will have accomplished a great mission that is personal to me.”