Past Programs

'BrownGirl. Bluegrass'

October 6 & 7, 2015; February 27, 2016; September 30, October 1 & 2, 2016

From her first two days at The Lyric in October 2015, to her subsequent performance in February 2016, and her final performances in September/October 2016, Lexington native Lacresha Berry has captivated over 1,700 attendees with 'BrownGirl. Bluegrass'. Through pay-what-you-can performances, The Lyric & Berry (along with previous sponsors PNC Bank, Community Ventures, Tate Hill Jacobs Architects, & LexArts) have been able to share Berry's emotional, eye opening, and inspiring story with any and all in our community. Through proceeds from these performances, The Lyric has been able to give back and inspire even more, funding educational and creative arts youth programming to build our next generation of storytellers and talents like Berry.

'BrownGirl. Bluegrass' is an autobiographical story of its star and creator Berry - examines the rarely documented cultural history of African-Americans in Kentucky. Berry blends the perspectives of her own childhood through Kentucky geography and personal events while honoring the work of important ancestors whose lives parallel with her own. Her take on the culture, geography and the history of Kentucky is poignant, didactic, and enlightening as we see the historical figures of our enriching and emotional past come to life with ancestral music to soundtrack these powerful stories. A one-woman show with seven original songs that evoke the ideas of womanhood, family, love and race, as well as push universal themes and intergenerational messages in every piece of poetry, prose, and song. A historical adventure and homage to her heritage and ancestors, BrownGirl. Bluegrass. teaches us that we are all beautiful and powerful. 

'I Dedicate this Ride'

October 23 & 24, 2015

In this powerful production, The Lyric partnered with Message Theater present a richly imagined play written by Frank X Walker which brings to life the mind and heart of thoroughbred racing legend, jockey Isaac Burns Murphy (1861-1896). Born into slavery, Murphy rose to prominence in a brilliant career that brought him wealth, honor and international fame. Follow Murphy's dramatic journey in the post -Civil War South to become America's most celebrated black jockey. Sponsored by Breeders Cup Festival and Mt Brilliant Farm.

'Unlearn Fear + Hate'

October 11, 2016

Organized by The Lyric, Transylvania University, and Kurt Gohde & Kremena Todorova, Unlearn Fear + Hate is a 3-act piece including music, spoken word, and cultural performances by students of Transylvania University that bring to light the topics of fear, hate, diversity, and inclusion, starting a conversation to help students become more socially, culturally, and personally aware and considerate of those we share the world with. In addition to the artistic experience, students will gain access to information and opportunities on pursuing a higher education at Transylvania University. 

'Positively Unbreakable'

December 1, 2, & 3, 2016

Positively Unbreakable is the fictitious, but riveting story of a married woman who is expecting her first child. Fearing that she is experiencing complications from the pregnancy, she and her husband discover that she is HIV positive. Interwoven within the storyline is an intravenous drug user whose path has indirectly crossed with the expectant mother. The play also explores the issues of teenage promiscuity and peer pressure, homophobia, and the growing population of senior adults who are contracting HIV.


"I enjoy writing about issues that people are grappling with daily, whether it’s loss of a job, a strain in a relationship, or learning that you have been diagnosed with an illness. My objective is to provide hope in what may seem like a bleak situation,” states Brown.


In what she terms as combining the arts with advocacy and activism, Brown hopes that Positively Unbreakable will help educate Kentuckians about their risk for contracting HIV. She will be partnering with the The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, which instituted a clean needle exchange program. The Health Department will share information about their program with theater patrons. Brown is also partnering with AVOL (AIDS Volunteers), Inc.  Both of these organizations will provide free, confidential HIV screenings during a health fair an hour before the play begins.


Positively Unbreakablestars Nieta Wigginton, Lexington native, whose prior stage credits include, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Oak & Ivy, and U.S. vs. Fear. Joining Wigginton on stage is Whit Whitaker, UK alumnus. Whitaker has also performed in To Kill a Mockingbird, Crumbs from the Table of Joy,Don Quixote, and The King and I. Positively Unbreakable also features UK student, Clark Janell Davis, who reigned as the 2015-2016 Miss Kentucky. She recently performed in the UK Opera Theatre’s production of Ragtime.

'art therapy: a luncheon series'

Fall & Winter, 2016

Join the Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month for 
'art therapy: a luncheon series', a unique 60-minute lunch experience providing an artistic and cultural outlet during your busy day.

Enjoy a catered lunch supported by the region’s premier catering companies. Relax to live entertainment provided by local artists. According to the American Art Therapy Session, art therapy is found to strengthen positive feelings, raise overall quality of life, improve body image, and increase perceptions of general and mental health.

Refresh, reset, and recharge for an investment in yourself as well as your community. Proceeds generated by ticket sales are reinvested to directly effect residents in the Bluegrass region through Lyric presented programming.

'Freedom to Dream Weekend' & 'TUBMAN'

February 17 & 18, 2017

'Come honor Black History Month and the iconic spirit of Harriet Tubman at The Lyric's 'Freedom to Dream Weekend', and elevate Tubman's legacy through youth enterprise and community outreach through the arts.

Berry, a native of Kentucky, is teacher, playwright, and singer/songwriter whose performance BrownGirl. Bluegrass was enjoyed by thousands of community members during three previous performances at The Lyric Theatre.

TUBMAN, Berry’s new one woman show, presents the story of Harriet Tubman reimagined as a young woman growing up in Harlem through a theatrical lens. The performance will take the inspirational story of Harriet in the 19th century and places her in the 21st century; laced with the problems facing African-American youth all over the country, focusing specifically on the mistreatment of black girls in schools. 

The national debut of TUBMAN is the center of the festival. Community members have the opportunity to enjoy receptions, brunch, and a vendor expo in addition to the theatrical exploration of Tubman's life. Starting at 5pm on Friday, February 17 an Opening Reception presented by PNC Bank, provides opportunity for networking and complimentary food and refreshments for Friday night ticket holders. 

Continuing on Saturday, February 18, 2017, a brunch and vendor expo will begin at 10am until curtain for the 2pm matinee showing of the production. Brunch is complimentary for allSaturday, February 18 2pm showing ticket holders. The Lyric is actively recruiting entrepreneurs to feature their goods, services, and talents as a part of this event.'

'The Artist's Eye 2016 Lyric Spring Break Intensive'

March 28 - April 1, 2016

Artists from around the country who took their time served in federal prison facilities to develop their current careers as working artists will work with 8th-12thgraders in Lexington, Kentucky for an intensive visual art program during spring break. Since becoming returning citizens over the past few years, these artists work within communities and potential "at-risk” demographics to provide intensive visual art instruction and instill the concept that young people can make progressive, productive choices about their futures that do not have to end in incarceration.

Through a daily intensive program, students will learn and practice various visual art forms including painting, decoupage, and transfers, to culminate in a group show at the end of the week. Students will also go on one field trip to a local gallery as well as meet local artists so they may learn more about the visual arts opportunities in their own community. 

During the 2017 session of 'The Artist's Eye', The Lyric and UK School of Art & Visual Studies teamed together to formulate a class focused on 'Defining American': Taking experiences and knowledge from different artists & different backgrounds and showing how the compilation, blending, and evolution of different cultural backgrounds help define and enrich our country and its people. 

Students will be working on two different projects during the 5 day intensive - learn some more about the instructors and projects below!

Good Blues Tonight was inspired by the loss of a historic Black business district in a central Kentucky community when the entire district was leveled to make way for a city park. This destruction was representative of many vibrant, historic Black communities throughout America that were re-shaped or destroyed by urban renewal projects during the 60's and early 70's. James Baldwin dubbed urban renewal "Negro removal" because some 2 million Blacks were forced by eminent domain to leave their homes and businesses to make way for parks, freeways or sports arenas. This happened in Chicago, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Kansas City - NEARLY EVERYWHERE - and even in Louisville's Walnut Street district. Our story focused on one barbershop's success at holding off the bulldozer to 10+ years. "We were here and will not be forgotten." this play shouts to the rafters!

Continuing in the tradition of the 5 year run of Lyric Summer Film Series prior, Black Lens seeks to celebrate and honor the monumental achievements in black cinema over the years. This celebration dually honors The Lyric's storied legacy as a movie house and roots in the Lexington community. 

Our films this year not only recognize celebrated tremendous historical figures like Muhammad Ali or our 44th president Barack Obama, but also the incredible talent of actors such as Denzel Washington, Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, and more. 

Moving away from the traditional Sunday afternoon screenings of the past 5 years, our series will run on the second and fourth Fridays in June & July at 7:00 pm. In the tradition of the previous film series, these films will still be presented FREE and open for all of the public to enjoy.