Kaleidoscope Theatre was founded in 1971 with an offer of a performance facility from the Panama City Beach Civic Center and an open invitation to anyone interested in live theatre. A handful of people responded to form the nucleus of a community theatre. Plays were performed randomly at first. There were thirteen people in the first audience, and eighteen actors in the production!
By 1973 the first full season was offered. All performances of the first three years were performed at the PCB Civic Center. With time, play offerings and attendance grew steadily. As the theatre developed, it became difficult to find room for rehearsals and storage space, and we began looking for another venue.
During a transition period, we spent time as a wandering band of actors, performing in such locations as the Gulf Coast Community College Fine Arts Auditorium, the old Girl’s Club, the Four Winds Restaurant and Rutherford High School.
In 1976, Kaleidoscope Theatre incorporated as a non-profit corporation. In 1978 we were able to purchase a small church building on an acre of land just south of Lynn Haven. The church was transformed into a theatre with a seating capacity of 200 (on metal folding chairs!).
By 1989 we had grown to the point of needing a larger performance facility with enhanced capability for the technical aspects of our productions and the comfort of our patrons. In 1990 the current facility opened with the production of Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, inaugurating the stage with a cast and crew of 35. Sell-out crowds filled the new 262 refurbished theatre seats that originally graced the Ritz/Martin movie theatre in downtown Panama City.
The original church building now serves as the production support facility, which is the focus of our current fundraising efforts.
Over these years we have developed an amazingly large and diverse “family” of volunteers who work together to produce live performances of dramas, comedies and musicals for the people of Bay County. We are proud to serve our community and to provide a means through which the talents of local artists can find expression.
At a membership meeting, various names were proposed for the new theatre, including Panama City Players, AfterGlow Theatre and Sunshine Players. Kaleidoscope Theatre was suggested by a very quiet lady named Pat Brown. During the discussion, Pat described a kaleidoscope “not as a silly toy, but an invention that creates patterns of light, color and shapes that form an ever-changing series of visual treats”. The name was embraced by all.
Call us to make reservations or receive more ticketing info: (850) 265-3226.