Since 1922 the historic Athens Theater has been the social and entertainment center for local residents, but it has had its share of ups and downs over the years.
According to the Athens Theater website, the theater has evolved through the years, “From a vaudeville theater to a movie house, a place for community theatre and prom parties, a dinner theater, a video game room, a restaurant, a pizza, beer and movie house, and a teen spot.”
It had to close its doors a couple of times in the 1900s, every time due to lack of finances. There simply was not enough support.
Today, the theater has multiple business sponsors in downtown Deland and ticket sales have constantly been on the increase.
“This season the ‘Singing in the Rain,’ sold- out show had the highest attendance in the history of the theater,” explained box office manager Amy Saunders.
She went on to describe her philosophy on the theater, “There have been times it’s been up and down, but I don’t see any difficulty in us staying open.”
Ms. Saunders has been an Athens Theater employee since it reopened in 2009, so she has witness the good times and the not-so-good times.
“Overall, I think we’re doing pretty good. I just wish that more people in the Deland area would support the theater,” she said.
As the location where many remember having their first kiss, first date or high school prom, the Athens theater holds more than just antiquity, it holds memories.
When asked what one thing she would change if she could about the theater, Ms. Saunders said she would want more people to come see the shows. “I wish we could do it so that we have a full house every time we open,” she said with a soft laugh.
Every show has a high production value and every aspect is meticulously planned. It is evident when talking to the actors as well as the accommodating staff that the space holds an hunger and deep passion for the arts.
The theater hosts six shows per season along with an array of lectures, educational activities, tribute concerts, and live shows for children and adults.
The theater can seat up to 451 people, small enough that you can see the stage and hear the performers from every seat.
Call the box office to reserve individual or season ticket passes for 2019-20 and save 20%.
Box seat packages include 10 seats, wine, a cheese platter and a box of chocolate covered strawberries. There is also a lobby concession that offers beer, wine, soda and snacks.
For more information, visit athensdeland.com.