Writing Lexington Children's Theatre's next chapter...

Enjoy Larry and Vivian's table read about our next chapter...

Since 1979, the Snipes have worked tirelessly to ensure access to the arts for generations of Kentucky children and families, and LCT’s Board of Directors and staff want to ensure that their legacy lives on through the establishment of a legacy fund.  While the time came for the Snipes to retire, they have not stopped dreaming of all that LCT can be.  Their hope is that a legacy fund will allow the new leadership to “focus on the work and the art and the exploration” and to take risks, but lead with “their heart and lead with their passion for what we can do.”   

In the summer of 1979, Larry and Vivian were on their honeymoon when they received a call from the Board of Directors offering Larry the position of Producing Director – just a few weeks later, they moved to Lexington to begin transforming the organization into a professional theatre.  That year, LCT’s budget was $40,000.  Today, LCT is a $1,300,000 company providing arts and arts education to over 100,000 young people across Kentucky and beyond every year.  And though they would be the first to point to the hundreds of artists and administrators that have worked at LCT over the last 40 years as the cause, this is in very large part due to Larry and Vivian Snipes.  

It is no exaggeration to state that over a million children have participated in programming with LCT during the Snipes’ tenure, whether they saw a touring production in their school, took a theatre school class, or came to see a play on a field trip.   Whether through working with the Snipes directly or one of the hundreds of teaching artists, directors, or interns that have proudly served under them, generations of Kentucky’s young people have had the privilege of learning the values, ideals, and integrity that have made the Snipes remarkable leaders for the last 40 years. 

For Larry and Vivian, it all comes back to the young people – as Vivian says, “it’s about a student on stage finally making connections with the word and understanding that there’s meaning behind the words rather than just the words on the page.”  It is about every person finding the artistry within, learning empathy and providing opportunities, and opening young people’s eyes to the possibilities in life.  What better way to honor the legacy of a lifetime of work than ensuring that all young people in Kentucky have these opportunities?  

While this chapter in LCT (and the Snipes’) story may be ending, a new one has already begun! While the community is sad to see the Snipes go, it is also a time to celebrate all they have built.  As Vivian says, “Once upon a time, a group of people got together and created a theatre.  And then…”    

As of January 2021, after forty years of service to arts education for young people and the community of Lexington, Kentucky, Larry and Vivian Snipes have stepped aside as Producing and Artistic Directors of Lexington Children’s Theatre (LCT) to let a new generation of theatre artists take the reins.  

To honor the legacy of the Snipes, the Larry & Vivian Snipes Legacy Fund was created in 2020. Since its creation, the LCT Family has raised nearly $60,000! LCT’s Board of Directors and staff are asking our supporters to help us write LCT’s next chapter by contributing to a fund that will sustain the theatre through the next several years, honor the legacy of Larry and Vivian, and underwrite the big ideas our new leadership will bring.    

To learn more about the Larry and Vivian Snipes Legacy Fund, or to make your contribution click the link below or contact Development Director Ashlee Collins at acollins@lctonstage.org or 859.254.4546 x230. 

Announcing LCT's Generations Campaign

Each month, we will share a story from different eras of LCT's History and ask our #LCTFamily...what kind of Legacy has LCT left in your life? We will also share incredible stories and images found in LCT's archives.

This month our Development Director, Ashlee Collins, sat down with former Board Treasurer and current Honorary Board Member, Jane Fraebel. We hope you enjoy her story and consider making a donation to the Larry and Vivian Snipes Legacy Fund and help strengthen our ability to provide meaningful arts experiences for young people and their families. 

Ashlee: "Can you tell us about your LCT Journey?"

Jane: "My daughter, Abby, took theatre classes and fell in love with LCT. My husband and daughter were in the Family Summer Musical, Honk! They loved the experience and time shared with other theatre enthusiasts. I am pleased to remain an Honorary board member; LCT will always have a place in my heart."

Ashlee: "What about your experiences as a parent here made you want to become an active participant yourself?"

Jane: "Watching the kids and staff interact and grow was very exciting; it made me want to get involved. The energy and love of art were always apparent. Everyone searching for ways to support creativity and reach out to the children of Lexington and surrounding areas. While serving on the LCT Board, they expanded their reach through satellite classes at schools and a major undertaking with programs in Rowan and Elliott Counties, bringing the theatre to young people who did have access to our main location."

Ashlee: "What are some of the biggest changes you have seen over the years?"

Jane: "It is amazing how LCT has grown through the years. It started with very little revenue and has grown to over 1 million dollars. LCT is a great investment in our children. LCT continues to provide a wide variety of shows and educational opportunities. They look to balance well-known productions to lesser-known ones which have a positive message. They strive to teach life lessons as they entertain."

Ashlee: "Do you remember anything about the purchase of the 418 W. Short Street building?"

Jane: "From what I remember the local community supported LCT, with strong financial support from Lucille Little and WT Young. These generous donors have allowed the theatre to operate without a mortgage on the building. With no rent or mortgage, the staff can focus more fully on the mission of the theatre."

Ashlee: Why is this kind of campaign important to our sustainability? Why did you choose to donate?

Jane: "Building the Legacy Fund can help ensure the future of the theatre. Budgeting a non-profit from year to year is tough. This fund can help stabilize the theatre with unexpected bills when donations are low due to economic issues or a multitude of other issues. A continuous income stream will help support ongoing activities.

We want to make sure LCT is there for many generations educating and developing our youth."