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Opening Week | The Historic Academy Of Music Theatre

After 60 years in the making, the Academy Center of the Arts Board of Directors and staff are proud to announce that the Historic Academy of Music Theatre, built in 1905 and closed in 1958, will have completed its renovation and installation of new Modular Flat Staging systems and will open its doors to the public in December 2018 with two weeks of Opening events and performances.

“The long-awaited opening of this community treasure deserves a week of activity and not just one night,” said Geoffrey Kershner, Executive Director of the Academy Center of the Arts. We want as many people in our community as possible to share in the excitement of opening this theatre after so many years. With new portable staging for schools, we hope everyone will celebrate with us in December.

The Historic Academy of Music Theatre’s Opening Week will begin on December 6th, 2018, with a night celebrating the integration of the theatre, a space that was previously segregated when last closed. This night will feature a concert event with Devon Gilfillian and Mavis Staples, emceed by Leland Melvin, former NASA astronaut and community member. Three community arts and culture awards will also be presented.

Following this night are six additional Opening Week events over two weeks, including a Holiday Movie Marathon, a performance by the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra and the Lynchburg Symphony Youth Orchestra, and a Showcase event featuring the resident companies of the Academy, as well as two showings of Charlottesville Ballet’s The Nutcracker.

The Academy Center of the Arts will also host a black tie event during Opening Week, featuring Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s Big Band Holidays with Wynton Marsalis and special guest vocalists Vuyo Sotashe and Veronica Swift on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Every December for more than a decade, the critically acclaimed Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis have explored the canon of holiday standards to perform new and traditional arrangements of Yuletide favorites. These Big Band Holidays concerts have become a seasonal tradition among jazz lovers and families.

The Opening Week events will conclude with a New Years Eve Bash on Monday, December 31, 2018, in both the Historic Academy of Music Theatre and the Joy & Lynch Christian Warehouse Theatre spaces. Performing artists include NO BS! Brass Band and Apple Butter Soul. Tickets include access to one or both events, as well as a champagne toast and New Years Eve countdown.

The Academy’s Opening Week of activities include a wide range of offerings and price point options to ensure that the gift of this restored theatre can be shared with as many in our community as possible.

Tickets to Opening Week events and performances are on sale at or at the Box Office, located at 519 Commerce St. and by phone at (434) 846-8499. Limited tickets will be available for each event.

Opening week events are supported by Cary & Robert Roberts, Jill & John Fees, Foster Fuels, Watts Creative Studios, Vistagraphics, and other community partners.



  • Academy Presents: “In Unison”: A Concert Event Featuring Mavis Staples and Devon Gilfillian
    Celebrating the Integration of the Historic Academy of Music Theatre
    Thursday, December 6, 2018, 7:30PM
    Tickets: $25–82
  • Holiday Movie Marathon
    Saturday, December 8, 2018, 10:00AM–2:00AM
    Tickets: $5.00 all day access

Mickey’s A Christmas Carol: 10am–10:30am (G)
Frosty’s Winter Wonderland: 10:35am–11:05am (G)
How The Grinch Stole Christmas: 11:10am–11:40am (G)
Disney’s Frozen: 12pm–2pm (PG) Elf: 2:15pm–4:05pm (PG)
It’s A Wonderful Life: 4:20pm–6:55pm (PG)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: 7:10pm–9pm (PG–13)
Love Actually: 9:15pm–11:50pm (R)
Bad Santa: 12:05am–1:55am (R)

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