State Theatre of Kansas

Theatre News

Thank you to our Topeka Gives supporters


The Board of Directors of the Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas thank the following people for their donations to The Jayhawk Theatre on the day of Topeka Gives

  • Steve and Derie Briman
  • Ben Coates
  • Bev Coates
  • William and Elisabeth Cutler
  • Alice Eberhart-Wright
  • Andrea Etzel
  • John and Julie Ford
  • John Gonzalez
  • Doug Jones
  • Patricia Kane
  • Kelly Magerkurth and Todd Payne
  • Mary Kay and Tom Magerkurth
  • Wendy Pickell
  • Daniel and Nancy Shaughnessy
  • Hi Stockwell and Michael Bradley
  • Carol Turner

Thanks to all who helped make this a great event for the Jayhawk!

Support the Theatre at TCF Topeka Gives- Download Donation Form


The Jayhawk Theatre will be present for this year’s Topeka Community Foundation event “Topeka Gives: A Fun Day of Giving”  Topeka Gives is one fun day of giving sponsored by the Topeka Community Foundation.  Topeka Community Foundation will provide $35,000 in match money for every donation made to non-profits and the Jayhawk will be there! There is a minimum $25 donation.

The TCF will provide “match” money for contributions made to support different nonprofit organizations in the community.  Contributions made by check, cash or credit card will be accepted inside Fairlawn Plaza Mall on June 3rd only.  There is a $25 minimum gift.  While there is no maximum gift amount … matching funds will be awarded to the first $1,000.00 of each donor’s contribution.

The event will be on June 3rd, 2014 from 7am to 6pm at Fairlawn Plaza. Please download your donation form and support the theatre!

Donation Form Download





Take the poll: Which Historic Topekan Should be Recognized with a Statue Downtown?

English: Cyrus K. Holliday (1826-1900), one of...

English: Cyrus K. Holliday (1826-1900), one of the founders of Topeka, and the first president of the Atchison. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Newspaper offers online poll; readers may cast up to four votes


As The Jayhawk Theatre will be a vital part of Downtown revitalization, we are particulalry interested in our readers giving their input on which “Notable Topekan”  should be picked.


Which historic Topekans should this community recognize by putting up statues or plaques downtown? The Topeka Capital-Journal is offering people a chance to weigh in on that matter by taking a poll…..The city of Topeka plans to break ground May 12 to begin carrying out infrastructure improvements for a two-year project to redevelop S. Kansas Avenue between 6th and 10th streets.

Keep reading…..


One of our own Board Members: “Scott Gales, principal and vice president for Architect One, said poll results will receive serious consideration as decisions are made regarding who to honor through statues or plaques. He said that while plans aren’t set in stone, they initially call for putting up four or five statues. More statues or plaques could go in as funding becomes available.”


This is an impressive list of Topekans and very difficult to choose just one. Thankfully, you are allowed to vote on up to four Topekans. Please take the opportunity to complete this Poll.


Take the poll





Nonprofit raising funds to restore Jayhawk Theatre

Theatre board members Nancy Shaughnessy, Doug Jones, and Lonnie Williams.

Theatre board members Nancy Shaughnessy, Doug Jones, and Lonnie Williams.


You may have recognized some of our board members in the Topeka Capital Journal.

Working to restore what will be the “Crown Jewel” of downtown revitalization, the board looks to the future where the theater will have an economic impact of 4.5 million dollars in three years.



Historic Jayhawk Theatre Inc. board members are asking people to “take a seat” to help raise $8.7 million for the restoration of the Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas, a 1926 vaudeville palace in downtown Topeka that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places…In exchange for the donation, the name of the donor or a designated honoree will be displayed permanently on the back of the seat, be cast in bronze and displayed in the theater’s lobby and linked to the theater’s website donor library.

Read the full article



Learn more about our “Take Your Seat” campaign.


Washburn Review

Special thanks to the support from The Washburn Review. The Washburn review raised $400 for the Jayhawk Theatre to be applied towards operating expenses. Check was presented to Doug Jones, Theatre President, during the September First Friday Artwalk.


Amazing Art Reception for Angela Lexow and The Upstage Gallery

Huge thanks to Topeka and all who came to support the Jayhawk Theater and featured artist Angela Lexow

The Upstage Gallery and Jayhawk Theatre would like to thank all who were responsible for the incredible First Friday art reception on August 3rd.

Nationally recognized artist, Angela Lexow exhibits a body of worked produced from August 1, 2011 to August 1, 2012. The Upstage Gallery and Jayhawk Theater received guests in record numbers this past First Friday. Angela Lexow had an amazing opening reception.

“150: “A Year in the Life of an Artist” Angela Lexow guides us through a year long journey of painting. Angela is a lifelong artist who works with fine art gourds, jewelry, and painting. “This show has reminded me how to be disciplined to work every day, even if the creative urge doesn’t strike me that day””

It was an incredible evening for art sales and theatre visitors. In fact, it was the highest number of pieces sold since the gallery has been open!

We would like to thank all who came to support Angela and The Jayhawk Theatre. A very exhausted staff said goodbye to our last visitor at 9:45pm.

With this huge opening we look forward to additional successes as the theatre and gallery continue to grow.

Other artists include: Randy Fay, Joe Williams, Robert Ash, Stella Robbins, Mary Anderson, Patricia Kovulchuk, Connie Ehrlich, Barbara Solberg

The opening reception was an enjoyable evening filled with family, friends and art lovers from all over Kansas.

Thank you again to everyone who helped make this opening such an inspiring success for both the gallery and the theatre.

To find out more about Angela Lexow:




Jayhawk Theatre Beautification Project

What are you doing on Saturday, July 21st?


Volunteer opportunity:


Join the Jayhawk Theatre Beautification Project! We are looking for volunteers to help us move out storage items, sweep, tear out 85+ year old carpet, clear off the stage, etc. to give the theatre a fresh makeover for future tours and upcoming restoration. Breakfast items and lunch provided. Saturday, July 21st from 8:30am to 2:00pm. Come for part or stay for all. Bring some work gloves and suitable work clothes. Recommended for high school-ages and up. We sure appreciate your support in our efforts toward historic preservation of this wonderful theatre!


RSVP to:




Heritage Trust Fund Grant

Media contact:

Doug Jones

President, Jayhawk Theatre Board of Directors

(785) 969-4630


For Immediate Release


The Jayhawk Theatre wins Heritage Trust Fund grant, plans to complete project


Topeka, Kan. – The Jayhawk Theatre was awarded a Heritage Trust Fund grant in the amount of $54,240 Feb. 18. The theater was one of 24 projects throughout the state recommended for grant monies by the committee of the Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review. The funds will be used for repair and revision work on the theater’s fly gallery roof and main theater roof.

“There were 24 projects that were awarded this year and the Jayhawk was one of the few to be fully funded,” said Katrina Ringler, grants manager at the Kansas State Historical Society. “It’s a beautiful building that has a lot of potential to have a rehabilitation that will benefit the city of Topeka and the state.”

The Jayhawk Theatre, built in 1926 and a National and State Historical site, requires $9 million for full restoration and renovation. The Jayhawk’s board of directors has raised over $600,000 over the past 15 years, utilizing those funds for infrastructural improvements.

The lengthy project has picked up speed in recent months with new board appointments, sizeable grants with the City of Topeka’s Historic Sites for Heritage Tourism grant in the amount of $42,400 last November, and the recent Heritage Trust Fund grant. The board of directors aims to complete the project by Dec. 2013.

New board appointments

Doug Jones, co-owner of JQ Historic Properties and past president of the Shawnee County Historical Society is the new president of the Jayhawk board of directors.

“I’m thrilled to become the president, and there’s exciting new momentum. This thing is starting to roll,” said Jones. “We have an aggressive fundraising campaign that is ready to kick into higher gear.”

Jeff Carson, co-owner of Gizmo Pictures, Inc., is the new vice president.

“The excitement about downtown, with the capitol renovations and other areas of revitalization really bode well for our project and our new team. We have a lot of work to do, and we’re rolling up our sleeves, but we’re all looking forward to the opening of the theater,” said Carson.

Plans moving forward

The Jayhawk board of directors plans to raise the remainder of the funds necessary for construction to begin through a combination of sources: corporations, foundations, individuals, further grant opportunities and through several types of tax credit tools.

“We want to make the Jayhawk the crown jewel of downtown development,” said Jones.

Once complete, the theater will seat audiences of up to 900 people and provide live theatre and music, film and other arts events as well as providing meeting space for business and recreational needs.

The board is seeking volunteers from the community to participate in theater cleanup efforts, office work, event planning and historical research. Interested members of the community are urged to get in contact with board president Doug Jones,

Plans are also underway for several large fundraising events in 2012 and 2013.

For more information, visit


First Friday

“The Upstage Gallery Partners with 10 Local, Regional, and National Artists for an Eclectic Art Exhibit”

The Upstage Gallery is honored to host an exhibition of work by some of the most influential artists in their mediums.


The Upstage Gallery and Jayhawk Theatre present an eclectic art exhibit featuring 10 of the Kansas area’s best artists to highlight the diverse styles and mediums represented by the Topeka art community. The gallery will host a reception on January 6th, 2012 from 5-9pm. The Upstage Gallery is located at 720 SW Jackson in the Jayhawk Towers. This Eclectic Art Exhibit will be on display through the month of January. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9-5pm.

All participating artists have a strong presence in the Kansas area and range from emerging to established careers. They include: Robert Ash, Jan Jennings, Barb Quaney, Mary Anderson, Beth Cain, Angela Lexow, Pam Renovato, Joe Williams, Randy Fay, and Freestate Glass.

Most notable artists and information: Angela Lexow will exhibit her fine art gourds with styles ranging from Southwestern to Oriental. Fiber artist Barb Quaney showcases a style learned in New Zealand using indigenous techniques that are very rare here in the U.S. Master of Vivid Color Robert Ash, California photographer, offers his interpretations of the Kansas landscape. Digital Fine Artist Pam Renovato, displays works in the art world’s newest fine art medium as well as “Algorithmic Art” that is popular on both coasts. These styles are accompanied by the longtime experienced portrait art of Jan Jennings, recycled metal and wood sculptures by Randy Fay and Joe Williams, as well as jewelry by Mary Anderson and award winning jewelry artist Beth Cain.

As the Topeka art world continues to grow, The Upstage Gallery and Jayhawk Theatre pride themselves on being an established yet growing venue for talented artists.  The gallery gathers multiple art mediums and styles with a spotlight held on providing attainable artwork for the everyday art lover from a list of “do not miss” artists. The Upstage Gallery realizes the importance of revitalizing Downtown Topeka and believes providing a showcase for diverse creative offerings and quality art that exist in Topeka is an excellent means to do so.