Ex-EKU arts center director to lead Lancaster theater

November 29, 2012 

Debra Hoskins, shown on Sept. 23, 2011, at the EKU Center for the Arts in Richmond.

DAVID PERRY | STAFF

Debra Hoskins, who left the top job at the EKU Center for the Arts in Richmond earlier this year, has been named executive director of the Lancaster Grand Theater in Lancaster, the Danville Advocate Messenger reported.

A lifelong resident of Lancaster, Hoskins was named to the Lancaster job this month, the newspaper reported. The theater is scheduled to open in the spring after a $4.2 million restoration.

First opened in 1925, the 500-seat theater is undergoing a renovation that includes installation of the latest technology. It should be ready to open in March, Hoskins told the newspaper.

Hoskins said her experience and connections in the arts will allow her to book acts to the Grand that are on par with those that came to EKU and Centre College, where she previously worked. Hoskins told the newspaper that she hopes to put on about 10 marquee events during the Grand's first year and raise that number to 15 or 20 in following years.

She also expects the theater to be used for high school and community drama and music performances and other locally flavored cultural events, both public and private, the newspaper reported.

Hoskins was a longtime leader at Centre College's Norton Center for the Arts in Danville before taking the job at EKU. In June, EKU moved to fire Hoskins, but the center's community operations board blocked her dismissal, saying the university did not have that authority. Hoskins resigned a week later.

Efforts to hire a replacement for Hoskins at the EKU Center for the Arts have been stymied because the board has failed to resolve a key issue: Who has the authority to fire the executive director, the board or the university? The board had its final meeting of the year on Wednesday and did not reach a resolution. The board's next scheduled meeting is Jan. 23.

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