On February 23, the newly renovated Rose G. Smith theater opened in Williamson. The theater is located in the now-closed Williamson High School and is the result of months of hard work. The theater was purchased by HKL Productions in October 2018. HKL are the initials representing the Hatfield, Kapourales, and Lycan families, who purchased the theater because they saw that Williamson had a need for a theater.
A Local Inspiration’s Namesake Lives On
The theater was named for Rose G. Smith after it was initially built in the high school. The class of 1950 requested that the theater be named in her honor. Rose was an English, Speech and Drama teacher at Williamson from 1929 to 1961. It’s said that her true passion lied in theater and the performing arts, and she consistently won high honors at the West Virginia High School Drama Festival while she was teaching. Many of her students pursued careers in writing, drama, tv, and radio, and she was well-loved by many students of the time.
HKL’s Hard Work Pays Off
At the time HKL Productions purchased the theater, it had been neglected for a number of years and fallen into disrepair. The roof had a leak, and as a result, there was a lot of water damage to the theater. Immediately after HKL acquired the building, they began renovations. They began replacing ceiling tiles, restoring chairs, and cleaning the carpets in the theater.
“They then turned their focus on the stage. Hardly anything worked, so it took a team to repair all of that," says Tonya Webb, who volunteers with HKL. "They are actually still adding and working on things even to this day, but I can truthfully say it has come a long way and looks absolutely beautiful."
The owners are big supporters of the arts and knew that the community was in need of a local theater.
“They felt it would be a great asset to the community,” said Tonya.
It’s obvious that the community agrees. Folks in Williamson enthusiastically came out to support the opening of the theater, where members of the families making up HKL Productions told stories about the renovation. Joe Lycan, one of the owners, is a musician, and the evening closed with a performance by him and his guitar.
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