Restored Kimball Theatre celebrates 75th Anniversary with film festival

posted by philbertgray on January 4, 2008 at 9:55 am

WILLIAMSBURG, VA — The Kimball Theatre will celebrate its 75th anniversary next month with a film festival called “When the Movies Come to Town! 75 Years at the Williamsburg/Kimball Theatre – A Festival of Movie History.”

Co-sponsored by the Kimball Theatre, the College of William and Mary Film Studies Program and the Reves Center at William and Mary, the festival will showcase a wide selection of films that have played at the theater over the past eight decades. The screenings will be accompanied by receptions, live performances and talks by renowned scholars.

Originally known as the Williamsburg Theatre, the playhouse opened on Jan. 13, 1933 with a grand opening celebration that featured fireworks, multi-million candlepower spotlights and an air show. It was one of the first air-conditioned buildings in town and served for decades as its only first-run movie house before becoming an arthouse showing foreign and independent films.

In 2000, the theatre temporarily closed for a multi-million dollar renovation made possible through the generosity of Bill and Gretchen Kimball. Rechristened in September 2001, the building was restored to its 1930s splendor and expanded to include a stage for live entertainment.

The festival begins Thursday, Feb. 14 and wraps up on Sunday, Feb. 17 with such films as “King Kong” (1933), “Gone With the Wind” (1939), “Roman Holiday” (1953) and “In the Heat of the Night” (1967). All screenings are free but tickets are required.

The theater is located in downtown Williamsburg on Merchants Square. For more information, contact the box office at 757-565-8588 or visit the Kimball Website.

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