Built in 1948 Shoals Theatre is a romantic fixture in downtown Florence, Alabama with it’s twinkling sign, which stands as a reminder of simpler times, when going to the movies only cost 25 cents. Today, the flashing lights on the corner of Seminary and Mobile Street signifies the survival of the creative arts in Florence, which has just recently taken on a revival with the opening of small businesses, restaurants, and boutiques by young artists and entrepreneurs sprinkled throughout downtown. While Shoals Theatre is continually producing plays thanks to the diligent dedication of volunteer board members, the theatre itself is hoping to take on its own renovation to support not only live theatre productions, but the addition of projection equipment for movies and an all-over updated look, creating a completely remodeled space for concerts and events.
Inspiration for the project is being drawn from the beautiful and popular Franklin Theatre in downtown Franklin, Tennessee, which has maintained its original glamour and charm, host’s memorable musical performances, and shows both new and classic films. The possibility of transforming our already beloved Shoals Theatre into an event venue that attracts a variety of people who love the creative arts is an exciting opportunity. Shoals Theatre is a 501C3 nonprofit and survives solely on donations—meaning, it needs the help of Shoals citizens to take its revitalization to the next level and continue the vital role it plays in the downtown area. Fundraising will begin in the near future and anyone who wants to contribute and support the theatre that has so long created magic in our downtown can call or simply attend an upcoming event.
Seating 700 people, this charming space is an ideal place to watch a live show, with a large stage, sloped seating, a sizeable balcony, and amazing acoustics. Shoals Theater has hosted several epic musical performances in the last few years including the Civil Wars, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Jason Isbell, and most recently Alabama Shakes—and I’m sure it will continue to provide incredible, memorable events in years to come. Currently there are two acting programs: The Zodiac Players, the adult acting group and the Gingerbread Players, which is for kids. Each group has multiple performances throughout the year, attracting actors, young and old, to audition for these meticulously produced performances. Auditions are frequently announced in the local newspaper for anyone wanting to show off their acting talents and new talent is welcome!
The theatre has several upcoming plays, including the most recent one: Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street—which is a musical thriller set in a grim 19th century London. Performances begin on Thursday, November 19th thru Sunday, November 22nd and tickets can be purchased at the box office or online. Other shows for this season will include Zodiac Players performances: Tuna Does Vegas, Driving Miss Daisy, and Sordid Lives, while the Gingerbread Players will be performing Dorothy Meets Alice in May 2016. Until then check out the Shoals Theatre Facebook page or www.shoalstheatre.org to keep up with forthcoming Christmas programs, concerts, and events that will include a travelling crew performing It’s a Wonderful Life.
Shoals Theatre is a work of art with its historical architecture and glowing marquee sign, which blinks throughout the night, beckoning our community to not forget the arts and the rich culture that it brings to our area. Whether you’re enjoying a show in the theatre or simply walking down the cobblestone Mobile street under the flashing lights, the joy and warmth of the creative arts has lived in and around the Shoals Theatre walls and will only continue with your dedication and support to our local treasure.