Holiday fun at the Bell Theater

Published 2:58 pm Friday, December 29, 2017

In an attempt to spread holiday spirit throughout the community, the historic Bell Theater hosted interactive screenings of two beloved Christmas classics last week, complete with an old-fashioned ugly Christmas sweater contest and even a traditional Mexican Christmas celebration.

“The theater has a great small town feel what was perfect for these productions. It was very comfortable and friendly,” said Jamie Dykes, a Somerset resident who attended the screenings.

The events were hosted by Pineville’s theater troupe, The Pineville Players LLC, led by Heather Golden. Golden and the group have made it their mission to spread the joy of the theater, along with cultural appreciation, throughout the area in any way possible, while having fun and creating enjoyable events for the community along the way.

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“I want the group to grow in several different ways; it doesn’t have to be one particular thing, really, just as long as its goal to spread art appreciation and culture is fulfilled,” said Golden.

The holiday favorites featured during last week’s events included the critically acclaimed comedy “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” as well as Bob Clark’s Academy Award winning “A Christmas Story,” both of which have managed to earn the title of modern Christmas classics.

The first production included an ugly Christmas sweater contest, allowing everyone to confidently show off their favorite overly festive attire. Both Johnna Lynn Callebs and Mark Hobbs were proclaimed the winners of the playful contest, and received a trophy for their quirky — yet jolly — ensembles.

Audience members were encouraged to interact with both films, and were even given an audience participation guide upon arrival.

Audience participation has become quite a trend among both community theaters and high-profile shows, and the Pineville Players plan to continue incorporating this unique method, as it brings the show to life and provides the viewer with a much more enjoyable overall experience.

The group already has three upcoming interactive movies planned, as well as the premier of their first full theatrical production. This Saturday at 7 p.m., several members of the Pineville Players will grace the stage, as they perform the one-act play “A Director’s Nightmare.”

Golden hopes that, with time, the theater’s following will continue to grow, creating an even wider audience for the troupe’s fun-loving, theatrical events.

“I would like to say thanks to the people of Barbourville, Knox County, and of course, Bell County for their unwavering support in every event we have put on in the Bell Theater,” said Golden. “They are our cheerleaders and are helping us plan for future events.”