Pine Knob celebrates 30th season

By Michaela Priddy

30 years ago in June 1987, the Pine Knob Outdoor Theatre opened with the first production of the play “Dock Brown – Outlaw of Grayson County” based on a true story about the outlaw “Dock Brown,” who lived in Grayson County in the 1800s.

Since that day, the Pine Knob Outdoor Theatre has been voted one of the top three best community theatres in Kentucky by Kentucky Living magazine and has produced a number of historical, folklore, and musical performances. To celebrate their 30th season, Pine Knob Outdoor Theatre will be holding a Gala Opening on Saturday, June 4, beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Built in 1987 by Honus Shain, owner of the theatre, the Pine Knob Outdoor Theatre is a non-profit, 300-seat, state supported theatre on Shain’s farm.

Pine Knob Theatre started out as just an idea after holding a Dock Brown Day at Pine Knob to promote the reopening of the old Pine Knob store. At this event Shain and some friends told the story of the outlaw Dock Brown, who came to Grayson County in 1842, married the Mayor’s daughter and became a respected citizen in the county, while still committing crimes, unknown by the county’s citizens.

This story telling inspired Shain to build the theatre and open it a year later to perform plays during the summer weekends. Over the years, other plays have been added to the theatre’s schedule, such as “Down in Hoodoo Holler,” “Daddy Took The T-Bird Away,” “Lucy and Ruth’s Diner,” and “Be Bop A Lula,” among others.

Over 500 local and out of town actors have performed at Pine Knob, some coming from as far as Tennessee, and Shain is expecting “as many as 100 to return for the Anniversary.”

The Gala event will begin the Pine Knob Outdoor Theatre’s coming summer season. The Gala will start with a buffet catered by K’s Café at 5:00 p.m., and the “Dock Brown” story’s performance will begin at 7:30 p.m.

This special opening night’s performance will have many former cast members, including Rick Brooks who was the infamous “Dock Brown” for nine years. This year’s performance will also include the South Union Bluegrass Band.

Many people of note are coming to the Gala event including C.B. Embry, Republican member of the Kentucky Senate, former television journalist, newspaper columnist and now WHAS-TV’s “On the Road” series reporter Byron Crawford, and Ron Gambill, the writer of self-illustrated children’s stories, Jacob Pond’s series, and novels GRAYSON SPRINGS and Six Little Scars.

Any admission for the Gala event is donation. Any donation will be accepted, though there is a recommended donation of $30 a per person for both the buffet and show.

“I want everyone to have a chance to share the night regardless of the amount, as the event will be a fundraiser for the theatre,” Shain said.

By Michaela Priddy

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