Stage & Dance

Yetta Young steps down as executive director of Lexington's Lyric Theatre

Lyric Theatre board chair Freda Meriwether spoke at the podium. At the table, Executive Director Yetta Young listened as the community shared feedback and asked questions. On Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Lexington, Ky., the Lyric board of directors hosted a community meeting to help people understand how to do business at the Lyric.
Lyric Theatre board chair Freda Meriwether spoke at the podium. At the table, Executive Director Yetta Young listened as the community shared feedback and asked questions. On Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Lexington, Ky., the Lyric board of directors hosted a community meeting to help people understand how to do business at the Lyric. Herald-Leader

Yetta Young, the first executive director of the renovated Lyric Theatre, has left the post after less than 20 months on the job.

Rasheedah El-Amin, the theater's cultural arts coordinator, is serving as acting director, said Chris Ford, chairman of the Lyric Board and 1st District Urban County Council member.

Ford said the theater hoped to begin a search for a new director by the end of January and name a successor in four to six months.

The theater was a hot spot for Lexington's black residents from the late 1940s to the early '60s. It then was closed for more than four decades. It reopened in October 2010 after years of legal wrangling over ownership of the theater and decay in the physical structure. A $6 million renovation resulted in a 588-seat theater and an adjoining community center and gallery.

In April 2011, the board hired Young, a Los Angeles-based performer and producer, who said she would use her entertainment-industry contacts to bring big names to the center and develop local programming.

But main-stage programming has been sparse, and last year, residents of the surrounding East End community complained that the theater was not providing the programming they had expected.

Ford said the board was aware that the Lyric has not met community expectations.

"We have a real important job," he said of the board, "and that job is to rebuild some confidence and meet some expectations."

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