Spotlight on The Burford

October 15, 2018 0 By admin

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 Shannon Martin, Director at (620) 886-1703 or

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.