State cuts could kill Daniel Boone play

March 02, 2004|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - A loss of state funding could force the closing of The Legend of Daniel Boone, but the amount of state funding budgeted for the drama is unclear.

Chuck Dedman, chairman of the board for the drama, said it has been very difficult to find out just what the state's intentions are for funding the arts and outdoor dramas in particular.

"I don't know anything for sure," Dedman said.

Nevertheless, the loss of the $40,000 the drama gets from the state annually might be the end of a summer activity that has been part of Harrodsburg for many years.

"It will make it very, very difficult , if we lose this funding, to continue presenting the drama," Dedman said. "It represents a pretty significant portion of our budget. It may not (close) this year, but we would have to look at what our possibilities are."


Eben Henson of Pioneer Playhouse was not available for comment, but in a telephone call to the newspaper Monday Holly Hensen said her father is organizing a protest over the elimination of funding to outdoor theaters. She said the playhouse would suffer, but would not close its doors.

Dedman says he has not spoken with anyone on the appropriations committees of the state Senate and House of Representatives.

It is rumored that the drama will not get any state money, unless it can raise money for marketing which the state will match. That won't help the Daniel Boone play because the money from the state is used for various production expenses.

"We couldn't afford spending (all of the) state money on marketing," he said. "We have not been in the position to spend all $40,000 for marketing. In the last few years, the money has (paid for) sets, costumes, and production expenses to put on a show that attracts tourists."

The Legend of Daniel Boone and the state have a relationship based on the theater where the drama is presented. The state owns and maintains the theater as it owns other theaters across the state. Here, the drama board leases it for a minimal fee.

"It would be a very significant move to pull the rug out from these facilities," Dedman said this morning. "What is the state going to do with them? We fell like we bring tourism dollars into the state with the theater and the state gets a return on its investment with this asset.

"We are definitely tourist driven. It's a major part of our operation."

Phyllis Campbell, operations officer at Ragged Edge Theater, said the state has donated $3,400 in recent years, but that amount was cut to $2,800 last year. She told The Advocate-Messenger Monday that while the loss of funds will keep the theater from expanding, "We don't live or die by it."

Central Kentucky News Articles