Spotlight on The Burford

October 15, 2018 0 By burfordtheatre

Spotlight on The Burford features stories of the past, personal memories and upcoming events.  If you have a memory that you would like to share, please contact Miranda Nation Hofmeister, Director at (620) 442-5895 or

Spotlight on The Burford: History and Happenings, Article 21

By Miranda Nation Hofmeister, Executive Director, Burford Theatre Arts

Check out the amazing trees that were decorated and donated for the Festival of Trees Fundraiser! The silent auction is happening NOW so come by to bid on your favorites! Call the office at 620-442-5895, or email, or stop by the office on weekday afternoons! You can also bid during any of our upcoming events now through December 5!
Here are the beautifully decorated trees:

A Little Bit of Home for Christmas:

Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor:

Festive Forest Fantasy:

Chapter GH P.E.O. “Helping Women Reach for the Stars:”

Habitat for Humanity “Home Tweet Home:”

Jo’s Christmas Ballgown

Let It Snow:

Old Man River:

Pinata Tree:

Arkansas City Pizza Ranch:

SCK Health:

Visit Ark City:

Arkansas City Area Chamber of Commerce:

Place your bids today!


Spotlight on The Burford: History and Happenings, Article 20

By Miranda Nation Hofmeister, Executive Director, Burford Theatre Arts

We’ve got a lot going on over the holidays here at the Burford that you won’t want to miss! Check out what’s coming  up:
We’re accepting registrations now for participation in this years Festival of Trees fundraiser! Get a group of friends together, ask your civic organization, or invite your coworkers to decorate a tree to be placed in the lobby of the Burford Theatre for the Christmas season! Trees will be auctioned off to benefit Burford Theatre Arts. Trees can be decorated in any theme of your choosing. Decorate your tree in the Burford lobby, or bring it pre-decorated by November 17. Trees will then be auctioned off by silent auction through December 5.
Mark your calendars for Ark Valley Players annual ‘Tis the Season Gala on November 20 at 7:00pm. Tickets are available now at Schmidt Jewelers for this wonderful Christmas performance featuring local talented musicians! Enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres at lovely table settings for $25 a ticket, or general admission tickets are $15 for balcony seating.
We’re also preparing for some stellar concerts! On Sunday, December 5 at 7:00pm, we’re excited to welcome the Donnie Huffman Family & Friends Band to our stage. You may remember Donnie as part of the Donnie & Diane duo who had so many friends and supporters in the 60’s and 70’s, they were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2014! At this special concert, you’ll also have the opportunity to hear from Donnie’s accomplished family members Donnie Jr., Anna Huffman Terry, and Mike Griffey, along with some of your favorite local musicians, Tim Durham & Troy Wahlborg! Tickets are available now!
On Friday December 17 at 8:00pm we’re thrilled to have Mike & The Moonpies with opener Jackie Straw! Once celebrated as Austin’s premiere dancehall band, Mike & The Moonpies have spent years expanding their reach far beyond the Lone Star State, and now they’re bringing their red dirt hits to the Burford stage for one special night of entertainment!
On Saturday December 18 at 2:00pm, please join us at the Burford for a Christmas concert from our childrens’ choir, Prairie Voices directed by Gia Watson! You’ll want to be in the audience for this sweet kick-off into your Christmas holiday!

Thank you for your continued support of the historic Burford Theatre. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to put on these fantastic events!


Spotlight on The Burford: History and Happenings, Article 19

By Shannon Martin, Director of Burford Theatre Arts

During this quiet time at the Burford, we are installing a catering kitchen in the North Classroom.  The kitchen will feature a warming oven, dishwasher, large refrigerator and plenty of prep space.  Caterers who provide food for events at the Burford will be thrilled with the addition.  Thanks to many generous donors, the Pell Foundation and the VJ Wilkins Foundation for funding for the kitchen.  It will be named the Jean Snell Catering Kitchen after Jean who spent hours restoring the Burford and was a great cook.

As the contractor was working in the kitchen he asked me about the five small on the floor in a row.  They are the remains of stools from a soda fountain located in a pharmacy.  You can make out in the floor where the counter and the stools were located in the pharmacy.  At one point, a movie go-er could stop by the pharmacy and get a root beer float or banana split before or after a movie.

Another feature in the North Classroom is a built-in shelf with a pull-down door.  That was also part of the pharmacy.  The prescription side of the pharmacy was located in the next building and the door could close in the evening to separate the soda foundation.

The North Classroom had carpeting in the front half of the building.  Last week, the carpet was pulled up to reveal beautiful terrazzo flooring.  The Burford building has terrazzo flooring in the entryway and is a beautiful feature.  Terrazzo is traced back to mosaics of Egypt and consists of chips of other materials – marble, quartz, granite, or glass.  The materials are mixed with a binding component and then poured on the floor.  When it cures, the floor is ground smooth and covered with a sealant.  The Burford terrazzo floors are very durable and have stood the test of time being installed in 1924.

When we open again, and we will, be sure to stop and look at the beautiful floors and the new catering kitchen.  Until then, be safe, be kind and be hopeful.

Spotlight on The Burford: History and Happenings, Article 18

By Shannon Martin, Director of Burford Theatre Arts

Even though the theatre is closed right now, there is some activity in the north classroom and online. This week we began construction on a new catering kitchen in the Burford and will launch Virtual Burford! online.

For the past year, we have been raising funds and planning to install a catering kitchen in half of the north classroom.  The kitchen is being constructed now, which is actually a great time since nobody else is in the building.  Construction is an essential business and we will be excited to have the kitchen when we open up again.  Although operating funds are tight right now, the money raised to install the kitchen are a separate fund gifted from the VJ Wilkins Foundation, Peel Foundation and some very generous donors.  These funds have to be used to build the kitchen only.

The kitchen will feature a warming oven, dishwasher, large restaurant grade refrigerator and more.  There will be plenty of stainless-steel counters for food preparation.  It will be a great improvement for the many caterers who provide food for events.  There will also be a counter with a demonstration mirror above which opens to the classroom area.  We hope to offer culinary classes in the future.

We hope everyone is being safe and staying at home right now.   Our mission is to provide arts and entertainment to the community.  Thanks to a grant from Humanities Kansas we will be presenting Virtual Burford! starting this Friday at 3:00 p.m.   Virtual Burford! is a series of events including 1) a historical tour of the theatre, 2) live music from Piper Leigh, 3) a poetry and short story contest and more.  Each episode of Virtual Burford! will be played on Fridays at 3:00 p.m.  It will be available on Facebook, Instagram and on our website.  Even though we can’t meet face to face at this time, we hope to engage the community in the arts and humanities

Spotlight on The Burford:  History and Happenings, Article I7

By Shannon Martin, Director of Burford Theatre Arts

For the second time in the Burford’s history the theatre is dark.  A dark theatre is a theatre that is closed.  The first closure was in 2004 when B&B Theatres moved north of town and gave the building to the Arkansas City Area Arts Council.  Over the next 10 years, volunteers and contractors worked to renovate the historic building.  The Burford was technically dark but many were inside working.

On Tuesday of this week, the Governor issued an Executive Order that all gatherings of over 50 people had to cease until May 1st.  So the Burford is dark again.

Yes, technically we are closed but once again many are keeping the Burford running.  Plans are being made for the future.  Phone calls are taken regarding postponed events.  One on one music lessons are still taking place.  And we are renovating the North Classroom into a Catering Kitchen.

As a member of the League of Historic American Theatres, the Burford is following their recommended wording for our marquee.  Be Safe.  Be Kind.  Be Hopeful.  So in this time, enjoy your time at home with your family.  Our Facebook page will have some live streaming of entertainment.  We will share resources including other live streaming events around the world.

As a non profit organization, our operating income comes from ticket sales, rentals, grants, and donations.  Since ticket sales and rentals have halted, consider joining our membership program.  To be a member of the Burford Theatre, check out our website  Members get benefits including VIP events, presales, and free tickets.  We appreciate it.

We are looking forward to May 1.  Be Safe.  Be Kind.  Be Hopeful.

Spotlight on The Burford:  History and Happenings, Article I

By Shannon Martin, Director of Burford Theatre Arts

“By the early 20th century, Arkansas City had gained a reputation as “a good amusement center” and “one of the best theatre going towns in Kansas.”,” according to research collected by Foss Farrar in his paper The Theatres of Arkansas City in 2018.

At the center of this great Theatre legacy is the Burford Theatre.  The Burford Theatre was built in 1924 at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars.    It opened on September 15, 1924, with the film “The Perfect Flapper” staring Colleen Moore.  Admission was 10 cents for children and 25 cents for adults.

Over the years, Ginger Rogers danced on the stage, vaudeville acts included a live elephant, and the Burford had an ice cooling system before air-conditioning was widely used.

Fast forward through several owners, renovations including expansion to three movie screens and eventual closing in 2004, the Burford Theatre is reopened and once again the “King of Theatres” in south central Kansas.  False walls have been removed and beautiful trim work and stain glass ceilings were revealed.  The $7.5 million-dollar renovation took 14 years and is almost completely finished.  Only seats in the balcony remain to be purchased and installed.

But balcony seats won’t keep the Burford from living.  Recently sold out performances at the Burford include a Miss Kansas Kick Off Celebration, the Ark Valley Players play, Piper Leigh’s guest performance at Thirsty Thursday and a Rick Stitzel concert during Arkalalah.  “The concert was magical and felt like it only lasted 15 minutes,” said Jann Ziegler, Burford board member and fellow classmate of Mr. Stitzel.