Preservation Virginia Blog


Most Endangered Recap: The Ashland Theatre

Ashland Theatre

May is Preservation Month and we’re recapping previous Most Endangered Historic Places listings in the nominator’s own words. You can read updates on the Warm Springs Bath Houses and Gibson Cottage, the Carr-Greer House and the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum.

The following update is on the Ashland Theatre from their president and CEO, Douglas Love.

What prompted you to submit a nomination for the Most Endangered Historic Places list?

Our goal was to save the theatre and make sure that our greater community knew about our diamond in the rough. The endangered status helped get the word out that our historic theatre was falling into ruin.

What condition is the Ashland Theatre in today?

We re-opened December 26, 2018, after a $2.1M renovation with 4K digital projection and 7.1 surround sound. We have expanded our stage and added two dressing rooms ADA accessibility, box seats and office for our staff. We offer first run and classic films, lectures, and live music. In three months more than 15,000 patrons have attended events in the Historic Ashland Theatre.

How did being included on the Most Endangered Historic Places list help amplify your preservation efforts?

It helped us attract our largest donors and kick off our capital campaign. The entire community came together to make sure this important part of our region’s history was preserved and is now a beacon for our community.

Ashland Theatre

Photo by Joey Wharton Photography

How has the local community supported preservation efforts for the theatre?

Two of our larger grants were matching funds. More than $500,000 total was made through small donations to fulfill these matching grants.

How can the public further support your listing today?

We have memberships and seat plaques that help our organization to thrive and keep our beautiful neon lights on. Contact the theatre at Sponsorships and naming rights are also available.

What advice would you give to local organizations or individuals trying to preserve historic places in their communities?

Turn to the community that will most benefit from the historic place being restored. We know that so many people were tied to their memories of our theatre, but there has been a groundswell of support to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to create new memories.

Your support makes programs like the Most Endangered Historic Places list possible. Be a voice for historic places and stand with Preservation Virginia as we advocate for these historic sites by making your best gift to the Annual Fund. Together, we can preserve Virginia’s shared history, promote new vitality in communities and protect the places that make Virginia unique. 

category: advocacy